ps classics - celebrating the heritage of broadway and american popular song
notes from ps classics
Jeff Harnar

Posted on Monday, July 24, 2023

A Collective Cy

We had such a wonderful time working with Jeff Harnar on his Sondheim opus I Know Things Now that we proposed another collaboration. Jeff suggested we take a look at a Cy Coleman celebration he had premiered in New York City back in 2006; he always dreamed of preserving it on disc. The show itself was marvelous, but, of course, it needed to be adapted for recording, and when we spoke with Jeff and his music director, Alex Rybeck, we were delighted to discover that we were all on the same page. We knew what needed to be trimmed and what needed to be added (we were thrilled when sisters Liz and Ann Hampton Callaway signed on for two duets) – and we all agreed that it needed to be fully scored for orchestra. The result is a bravura tribute to a composer equally at home in the worlds of pop and Broadway, in performances soaked in Harnar and Rybeck’s jazz-tinged theatricality. We are so proud to unveil this ideal pairing of artist and repertoire; the album drops on September 8, but it’s already available for preorder at Amazon — plus you can read more, see a track listing and listen to soundclips here.

Posted on Friday, April 21, 2023

Matthew Scott's The Jesus Year: A Letter From My Dad

The period of crisis and rebirth that can arrive at age 33 is often called the Jesus Year. For Matthew Scott‘s father, it manifested in a sinking feeling that he might not live to see his four young sons grow up. So he began writing them a letter — life lessons ranging from sex to communication to spirituality — that was found after his death, when Scott was only 13. For Scott, the letter became a cherished guide to growing up while he navigated intimate relationships, his professional career, his challenges with anxiety, and the early years of fatherhood to two sons of his own. In December 2021, Scott — who had by then taken Broadway by storm in a string of hits that included Sondheim on SondheimJersey Boys and An American in Paris — wove his father‘s letter, anecdotes from his own life and a collection of classic pop and Broadway songs (from Paul McCartney and Billy Joel to William Finn and Stephen Sondheim) into a moving and rousing one-man show.

Philip and I first worked with Matt on the original Broadway cast recording of Sondheim on Sondheim. We were so enamored of his talent that we asked him to do several other studio-based recordings with us, including our Jerome Kern album The Land Where the Good Songs Go and our Noel and Cole. Back in 2019, Matt and I talked about working on his debut album; when I saw him perform The Jesus Year two years later, I told him this needed to be that album. As I always say, you only get one chance to make a first album — you only get one chance to make a “first impression“ — and the show is so moving, and his voice so stunning on this material, it quite takes your breath away. We’ve added instruments for the recording, but kept the intimacy and the sense of Matt sharing his story with the audience, in this case the listener; our goal was to create something just as affecting as the live show, but more richly textured. This is the kind of show that not merely draws crowds but makes them cry: exactly the kind of emotional journey Philip and I are most attracted to.

— Tommy Krasker, October 2022

Posted on Friday, October 21, 2022
December Songs for Voice and Orchestra

Having known Maury Yeston since 1977, and having worked with him on several productions, I’ve often had the good fortune of hearing his theatrical scores as they were being written. He called me on the phone and played me songs from Grand Hotel as he was writing them in Boston. I was there as his Phantom took shape. And I remember so clearly when he sent me his December Songsin 1991, well before it had received its first performance. I was instantly taken with its story of a woman coming to terms with a failed relationship and gaining the strength and wisdom to move on. I myself was going through a bad break-up at the time — the kind that often precedes one finding one’s true love — and I said to Maury when I had finished listening, “You just saved me thousands of dollars in psychotherapy.“

I was smitten with the work, and was thrilled to see this song cycle designed for voice and piano not only embraced by critics and audiences, but performed throughout the world. But from knowing Maury, I knew that his great dream was to see it enlarged to symphonic proportions. Maury and I started to toss around that idea a few years ago, and brainstorm artists who could both soar above a 37-piece orchestra yet retain all of the subtleties and nuances of the piece. Someone who could triumphantly make it their own. When we thought of Vicki Clark, we knew we had the answer. There are few artists who so devote themselves to a work, who pour every ounce of talent and emotion they have into a piece — and watching her tackle the song cycle over a four month rehearsal period and then commit to it so forcefully in the studio was one of the most thrilling experiences of my life.

As Vicki herself noted, following the recording dates,“As I studied and worked, the songs began to take on a momentum of their own, guiding and teaching me about my own life— moments I had overlooked or forgotten, powerful or painful or triumphant turning points that I had brushed aside or pushed down, and it seemed that my whole life came rushing back to me like leaves falling all around me on a blustery day. For me December Songs is about grace, acceptance and ultimately forgiveness, as a woman in the winter of her journey puts the pieces of her life back together again and finds joy and relief once more in this moment. There is no question that recording this album was one of the greatest gifts of my professional life.” Philip and I are so proud to unveil December Songs for Voice and Orchestra.

— Tommy Krasker, April 2023


Posted on Thursday, April 21, 2022
I Know Things Now

As we noted earlier this year, we were honored to be Steve Sondheim’s label of choice from 2004 to 2013, turning out a dozen cast albums during that time, plus two editions of Sondheim Sings. Eventually, we stopped doing his cast albums only because we’d be repeating ourselves: we already had a Sunday in the Park; we already had a Follies and a Company. Were there any new Sondheim roads we hadn’t already taken? Sondheim-related projects came our way, but we turned them down; we knew that whatever followed the expansive catalog we’d been permitted to preserve on disc had to be special.

I Know Things Now is special. Jeff Harnar stepped back and looking at the entirety of the Sondheim catalog, chose more than 25 songs, and reimagined them as a cohesive narrative — as he put it, his life in Sondheim’s words: ultimately reinventing these songs for the LGBTQ community. And in collaboration with famed pianist Jon Weber, he recast them in a jazz idiom: a radical reinvention of Sondheim’s harmonies that Sondheim himself not only endorsed but encouraged. The result was an acclaimed stage show, and now we’ve been allowed to adapt and enlarge it for disc, adding a 20-piece orchestra that sweetens the sound and shakes the rafters. Jeff put his faith in the master’s directive: “Anything you do, let it come from you. Then it will be new.” Steve was so pleased with the results; we think you will be too. The album drops on June 17, but it’s already available for preorder at Amazon — plus you can read more, see a track listing and listen to soundclips here.

Posted on Friday, January 28, 2022


When Matteo Ferrari came to us with a request to take on the US and Canadian distribution of his debut album, Maramao – and sent along a set of MP3s – we were instantly intrigued by what we heard. His warm, smooth voice was ready-made for the mic – but it was also clear that he was bringing his formidable acting skills to bear on every syllable he sang. We were enchanted when we first gave a listen, even though neither of us speaks a word of Italian. I suspect we would’ve happily released the album based on Matteo’s talents alone, but once we learned more about the impulse of the album, we knew it was for us.

Maramao is a collection of canzonette, songs composed between 1915 and 1945, during a particularly dark and challenging time in Italy’s history. They were designed to cheer people up, to bring them a sense of optimism in the face of oppression, and to that end, they borrowed heavily from the sounds of jazz that America was popularizing at the time.

When we first began PS Classics, one of our colleagues coined the tagline “celebrating the heritage of American popular song” as a way of defining our brand and goals. And the truth of it is, of course, that the heritage of America popular song extends far beyond our own borders. American popular song – and the sense of optimism infused within it – became a global phenomenon, and ultimately altered the course of world music. In terms of our label’s output, Maramao is perhaps a companion piece to Jessica Molaskey’s debut album, Pentimento, which showed how popular song sought to elevate spirits during the Depression. It fits firmly, too, within our personal aesthetic. We’ve always admired artists most who make a singular statement with their albums: who intuitively interpret the music in a way that only they could. It’s how Maureen McGovern, Cheyenne Jackson and Liz & Ann Hampton Callaway can all take a look back at the sounds of the ’60s – in A Long and Winding RoadRenaissance and Boom!, respectively – and emerge with such vibrantly different discs. The albums aren’t just about the songs, but how the artist perceives the songs. And Maramao is a beautiful example of that. When we first listened to the album, the song selection, arrangements and performances seemed like an outgrowth of Matteo’s tastes, temperament and passions. We felt we were truly getting to know him, even though he was some 6000 miles away. We’re delighted to pass along that introduction to you here.

– Tommy Krasker & Philip Chaffin

Posted on Saturday, November 27, 2021

Stephen Sondheim (1930-2021)

Between 2000 and 2013, I had the honor of producing 14 cast albums for Steve. After every album was put to bed, he’d phone me to thank me. I was humbled to be working with a legend — one I had revered since I was a teenager — and here he was thanking me. I was awed by Steve’s genius, but it was his kindness that overwhelmed me.

Since news came yesterday of his passing, many folks have asked for my favorite Sondheim memory. Nothing grandiose comes to mind; instead, it’s — as the man himself wrote — the little things. Hundreds of them. It’s how, every time he gave me notes on an album, he would finish with, “And that concludes my entire performance — in French,” channeling Zan Charisse in Gypsy. It’s the time Philip and I were vacationing in the Adirondacks, and when we came back, Steve had left a message on our answering machine telling me how thrilled he was with the Sweeney Todd album — two minutes of praise, after which I said to Philip, “We must never tape over this.” It’s how, when I was having a bad health spell in 2012 and was bedridden for several months, he sent me lists of old movies I should watch, and after I watched each one, we would compare notes. (I remember one of his all-time favorites was The Hard Way with Ida Lupino, and after I saw it, I understood why.) It’s how he arrived at the sessions for Follies, sat down, and the first words out of his mouth were, “Is Czerny here?” (He loved playing with our miniature schnauzer during the breaks. And if Jeff was there, they would both take delight in playing with him.)

Since yesterday, folks have been recounting Sondheim lyrics galore. Often the expected ones, but no less resonant for being so expected: e.g., “Sometimes people leave you halfway through the wood.” I’m too numb right now to think of a proper lyric to honor his passing. The oddest one keeps coming to mind – but if I had to say something back to Steve right now in his own language, it would merely be, “You’re lovely. Absolutely lovely. Who’d believe the loveliness of you?“ No one that brilliant had to be that kind, and generous, and thoughtful, and compassionate. Steve was.

RIP, old friend

— Tommy Krasker

Posted on Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Rebecca Luker (1961-2020)

We don’t have the proper words to express our sorrow over the passing of our dear friend Rebecca Luker. From the moment we met her in the mid-‘80s, she became a close friend. In 2003, just three years after we started this label, she came to us with a new solo album that she wanted us to have, and from that point on, she entrusted us with all her recordings. And we were forever asking her to star on various studio albums and songbooks that we were releasing, because there was no one we enjoyed working with more. It wasn’t just the voice, which of course was unmatched: it was her passion and dedication and fierce intelligence. Tommy once said, “If I could have Rebecca Luker on every album I made, I would be the happiest producer in the world.“ RIP, dear friend. We shall miss you dearly. – Tommy & Philip

Posted on Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Rebecca Luker (1961-2020)

We don’t have the proper words to express our sorrow over the passing of our dear friend Rebecca Luker. From the moment we met her in the mid-‘80s, she became a close friend. In 2003, just three years after we started this label, she came to us with a new solo album that she wanted us to have, and from that point on, she entrusted us with all her recordings. And we were forever asking her to star on various studio albums and songbooks that we were releasing, because there was no one we enjoyed working with more. It wasn’t just the voice, which of course was unmatched: it was her passion and dedication and fierce intelligence. Tommy once said, “If I could have Rebecca Luker on every album I made, I would be the happiest producer in the world.“ RIP, dear friend. We shall miss you dearly. – Tommy & Philip

Posted on Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Rebecca Luker (1961-2020)

We don’t have the proper words to express our sorrow over the passing of our dear friend Rebecca Luker. From the moment we met her in the mid-‘80s, she became a close friend. In 2003, just three years after we started this label, she came to us with a new solo album that she wanted us to have, and from that point on, she entrusted us with all her recordings. And we were forever asking her to star on various studio albums and songbooks that we were releasing, because there was no one we enjoyed working with more. It wasn’t just the voice, which of course was unmatched: it was her passion and dedication and fierce intelligence. Tommy once said, “If I could have Rebecca Luker on every album I made, I would be the happiest producer in the world.“ RIP, dear friend. We shall miss you dearly. – Tommy & Philip

Posted on Friday, December 15, 2020

all the girls
From the moment we heard Rebecca Luker and Sally Wilfert perform their two-woman show All the Girls in the fall of 2019, we knew we had to record it. The two had worked for years perfecting a show that celebrated women “in all of our messy wonderfulness,” as they put it, and the resulting evening was powerful and passionate and deeply moving – everything we most gravitate and respond to here at PS Classics. And we must admit, too, that there are few artists we enjoy working with as much in the studio as Rebecca and Sally. Every experience with them has been a joy, and the last time we had both of them in the studio, for our cast recording of Sweet Little Devil, it was one of the highlights of our 20 years running this label. Their amazing music director Joe Thalken graciously agreed to expand the ensemble from 4 to 10 for the album, and did so with grace and brilliance, and we’re so delighted to be unveiling the results for you. All the Girls will be available at digital and streaming sites on Christmas Day, with a hard-goods release to follow. In the meantime you can read more, see the track listing and hear soundclips here.

Posted on Friday, October 16, 2020
a new Rebecca Luker track

When we recorded Rebecca Luker’s Jerome Kern album in 2013, we added one song not in her stage show: a duet with Matt Scott to “The Enchanted Train,” a Kern and P.G. Wodehouse song that Tommy had always loved. Becca and Matt were magical, but as we mixed down the album, we realize that the rest of it was so personal and introspective that this joyous song just didn’t fit. It got left on the cutting room floor. But this past summer we all found ourselves thinking about it. Tommy realized it needed more of a chart than just the piano and bass that had accompanied the original album, and music director Joe Thalken graciously orchestrated it for eight players, who recorded it in their private studios. Our genius engineer Bart mixed it all down, and we’re so thrilled to unveil the results for you here: Rebecca Luker and Matthew Scott dueting to Jerome Kern and P.G. Wodehouse’s “The Enchanted Train.“ As the song title implies, it’s three-and-a-half minutes of pure enchantment. This track is now available where you purchase and stream music.

Posted on Thursday, October 8, 2020

Maury Sings Yeston
Our friend Maury Yeston turns 75 on October 23. We’ve had the great pleasure, since 2003, of recording numerous Yeston cast albums, songbooks, and classical discs. (PS Classics cofounder Tommy Krasker has actually been working on and off with Maury for over 40 years, including a stint as vocal director on the original Broadway production of Nine.) We wanted to do something special to celebrate Maury’s milestone, and Tommy, who has been among the first to hear all of Maury’s glorious songs as he’s composed them, suggested a two-disc set of Maury’s demos, of him performing his own material, spanning some 40 years. Maury’s demos aren’t like those of most composers: he typically recorded them in a studio, and often layered multiple voices, to showcase his rich harmonies and contrapuntal writing. And as anyone who knows Maury will attest to, his enthusiasm as he demonstrates his own material is boundless. He is a born performer. Maury Sings Yeston will be available for downloading and streaming on Maury’s 75th birthday, October 23, with a hard-good release to follow seven weeks later. Join us for the celebration!

Posted on Monday, December 23, 2019

Say Yeston
PS Classics co-founder Tommy Krasker first met composer-lyricist Maury Yeston when Tommy was a college student and Maury was the head of the music department. Upon Tommy’s graduation, Maury gave him his first professional job in New York City, when he hired him as rehearsal pianist on the original workshop (and ensuing Broadway production) of Nine.

In the decades that followed, Tommy would badger Maury: “There really should be a songbook album of your work, and a great Maury Yeston revue.” When we founded PS Classics in 2000, the songbook album was one of our first priorities; the resulting Maury Yeston Songbook remains one of our proudest achievements. But it took another dozen years before a Yeston revue emerged. Last month, The York Theatre premiered ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN IN THE THEATE: The Musical World of Maury Yeston, the first New York revue of Maury’s material.

The York production features five fabulous singers, to piano accompaniment; we wanted to up the orchestral forces, so we engaged three-time Tony Award-winner Doug Besterman to score the work specifically for the cast album — and today we are in the studio with cast and musicians recording the new Maury Yeston revue. It features several of Yeston’s best-known songs, surrounded by a host of little-known gems, most of them receiving their first recording here.

We’re looking to a street date of April 3, and just as soon as we have soundclips and preorder links ready, we’ll be providing them.

Posted on Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Will They Like Him? Yes.
We've rarely had a solo album garner as much instant reaction as label co-founder Philip Chaffin's Will He Like Me?, which dropped a week ago Friday. We're sure a lot of that is due to the very impulse of the album – reimagining the Great American Songbook for the post-marriage-equality era, using 17 classic songs to tell a gay man's love story – but from mainstream publications to theatre-centric sites, from LGBTQ online mags to personal blogs, folks have been hailing the concept and praising the execution. And since it's an album that we poured our hearts into – not to mention our first new release in two years – that's been enormously gratifying.

The New York Times featured the album in its 2018 Holiday Gift Guide (the first solo album on our label to make the Gift Guide), raving, "From 'When I Marry Mr. Snow' to 'I Got Lost in His Arms,' Chaffin tells a familiar story that has never sounded so new." At Talkin' Broadway, Rob Lester wrote an expansive piece, noting, "Chaffin's versatility is shown to good advantage, with faces of love that let him show the rush of romance, a little sass with a wink, and mood from delight and devastation. While the LGBT perspective is prominent, it's the dynamic and vibrant singing, thoughtful interpretations, and consistently winning instrumental settings that make the whole package so very rewarding and engaging."

At Gay Boy Bible, Rev Nathan hailed, "Unabashed, confident and relatable, Chaffin chooses songs that bring to mind an honest picture of gay men in love. The giddy first feelings; the minor (or maybe major!) irritations that getting to know someone bring out; the hard-won steadfast love that grows from fully sharing a life together; and finally the inevitable high price anyone pays for having a genuine and mortal love. Chaffin's vocals are golden." And at Another Damn Blog, Jamie Bowden-Smith predicted the album would bring "delight to a gay male audience who, just once, would like a gay romantic song that wasn't all heartbreak and despair. My husband, who long ago gave up seeking anything useful from mainstream artists that would speak to him personally, was enraptured by this album. It worked for him. He was delighted by it. And not just for 'gay rights' reasons – he specifically noted that Philip was one of the best singers he'd heard in years and that the album would've worked for him even if the roles were reversed and it was Philip singing about a woman."

But perhaps nothing pleased and touched us more than an email we received from a gay couple, Chuck and Bob, who'll be celebrating their 56th year together in December. They wrote that they've "been waiting a very long time for a CD like Will He Like Me? to arrive. In a complicated (or maybe simple) way, it's our story too." It's all of ours – gay and straight. That's the beauty of the Great American Songbook, of course: that the emotions and situations described are universal. We're so proud to be reinventing the songs and stories of a previous era for the lovers of a new one.

Posted on Thursday, October 18, 2018

Something for the Boys
Because Tommy got his start in the record business producing studio cast albums of old Gershwin shows, one of our goals -- when we started PS Classics -- was to record vintage musicals that predated the advent of the OCR. Since 2013, we've been working on our most ambitious restoration and studio cast recording yet, but it had to take a back seat to Tommy's health issues for a while. But now we're ready to kick it into high gear once again, and announce our new 2018 Studio Cast Recording of Cole Porter's 1943 smash Something for the Boys. It's one of the most forgotten Porter shows -- it premiered during the famed musicians' union strike of the early '40s, and none of its songs had the chance to become hits. But it's heavenly: Porter's love letter to the big-band era that had taken the country by storm. It swings like no other Porter score, and our time in the studio, recording these original charts with 26 musicians and a cast of Broadway pros, has been marvelous fun. Coming December 7, but you can read more and preorder here. Soundclips will be up in about a week, and we think they'll blow you away.


Posted on Thursday, October 18, 2018

Something for the Boys
Because Tommy got his start in the record business producing studio cast albums of old Gershwin shows, one of our goals -- when we started PS Classics -- was to record vintage musicals that predated the advent of the OCR. Since 2013, we've been working on our most ambitious restoration and studio cast recording yet, but it had to take a back seat to Tommy's health issues for a while. But now we're ready to kick it into high gear once again, and announce our new 2018 Studio Cast Recording of Cole Porter's 1943 smash Something for the Boys. It's one of the most forgotten Porter shows -- it premiered during the famed musicians' union strike of the early '40s, and none of its songs had the chance to become hits. But it's heavenly: Porter's love letter to the big-band era that had taken the country by storm. It swings like no other Porter score, and our time in the studio, recording these original charts with 26 musicians and a cast of Broadway pros, has been marvelous fun. Coming December 7, but you can read more and preorder here. Soundclips will be up in about a week, and we think they'll blow you away.


Posted on Thursday, October 10, 2018

Piaf: No Regrets
Our relationship with Christine Andreas goes back 20 years and encompasses the full range of what we do: solo albums, songbooks and cast albums. So when she came to us this past summer with an album she had just recorded -- a celebration of the great French singer Édith Piaf: a perfect pairing of singer and subject matter -- we jumped at the chance to help her bring it to completion and release it. Christine has been reinterpreting and embodying Piaf for some time, most notably in a one-woman show she's performed in venues from London to San Francisco. Now, she's taken that show, Piaf: No Regrets, into a London studio with a 32-piece orchestra, and the results are stunning. Singing a wide range of signature tunes in both French and English, Christine explores the singer's life and art in a way it has not been heard before. Piaf voiced a truth-telling in song that electrified first a nation, then the world. In Piaf: No Regrets, Christine Andreas uses her own extraordinary voice to celebrate Piaf's joys, pains and one-of-a-kind artistry. Read more and preorder here >

Posted on Thursday, September 27, 2018

Will He Like Me? (a love story)
We mentioned in a note this summer that we'd gotten back to thinking about new projects, after taking time off to deal with Tommy's health issues. Actually, we'd gotten a bit further than that. We've been working on Philip's next solo album since 2013, and this past summer, we went into Power Station and recorded it, with some of our favorite musicians. It's easily one of the most personal works we've ever released – in some ways, it's the culmination of everything we've tried to do with PS Classics. It's a song-cycle that uses 100 years of American popular song to reinvent the Great American Songbook for LGBTQ audiences. It's a gay man's love story, told through 17 classic songs, and it encompasses 35 years of his life, from first date to final goodbye. We imagine the album will have particular appeal to the LGBTQ community, but we hope its themes -- love and loss, hope and heartbreak -- will resonate with everyone. After all, that's the glory of the Great American Songbook: that the emotions expressed are universal.

The album goes on sale November 9, and you can read more and preorder here. (It's currently available for preorder at Amazon; it should up for preorder at iTunes within two weeks.) We hope you'll give it a try, and when you do receive your copy, that you'll listen straight through, as it's designed to be enjoyed as much like a cast recording as a solo disc. We're extraordinarily proud of this album; we're delighted to be back up and running, and we look forward to unveiling more projects in the weeks ahead.

Posted on Tuesday, May 22, 2018

rest cures, religion and pills
It's been over a year since Philip posted here about my health issues, and the label taking a hiatus while we attempted to get them under control. Since that post went up, I've been flooded with kind notes of encouragement and concern, and although I haven't had the strength to respond to each and every one, please know how much I've appreciated them. Many folks who wrote admitted they didn't know much about autoimmune illness, and I thought it wouldn't be bad to say a few words here. Typically, of course, your immune system protects you from disease and infection. But if you have an autoimmune illness -- and there are more than 50 million people in the U.S. alone who do -- your immune system attacks healthy cells in your body by mistake. In my case, it attacks my muscles and joints, and produces widespread pain. There's no "cure," but it is possible to slow the decline, and that's what the last 18 months have been about.

Back in 2013, my doctor told me I needed to slow down. He cautioned me to avoid stress, and although producing cast album dates  -- getting a whole show in the can in one day, and doing it efficiently, and doing it well -- is the most stressful job I've ever had, I didn't listen. I loved making albums too much. And I was getting away with it until the spring of 2015, when a half-dozen projects coincided: recordings I cared so passionately about, I wasn't going to turn them down. But they did me in, and I was in bed for months after. Finally, in the fall of 2016, Philip and I had to accept that changes were overdue. We moved home and office to south Florida, where the temps are kinder and the climate less stressful. And we decided to take time off to focus on my health. All in all, the move has been enormously helpful.

As a result, and to our delight, we've started to consider new projects. We're proceeding slowly, to ensure that I don't fall back into old, bad habits -- and although we're not yet ready to announce anything, I just wanted to pen this update, to assure folks that PS Classics is still very much active and around -- and that I am, too. We look forward to unveiling some new offerings that we hope will stack up with the best of our catalog. Till then, we thank you for your continued support, and as for me, I'm so grateful for the kindness and encouragement I've received. It's meant the world to me.

- Tommy Krasker, May 2018

Posted on Saturday, January 28, 2017

my husband spins fantasies
In November 2000, we started PS Classics. Tommy had been working as a freelance record producer (for Audra McDonald and Dawn Upshaw, among others) since 1989. I'd been working as a professional actor since 1988. We met in 1993, and it was love at first sight. In the late '90s, we thought it would be fun to finally work together, and collaborated on my first solo disc; when the resulting album, Where Do I Go From You?, was completed, we decided to release it ourselves, and created the label "PS Classics" in order to peddle it to retailers. We had no plans to take the label any further. But artists who knew us, and knew our work, brought us albums -- and ideas for albums -- and dreams of albums -- and now, it's seventeen years, nine Grammy nominations, and nearly a hundred discs later. It's been an amazing journey.

As many know, Tommy's been dealing with illness since 2006: an auto-immune disease in the same family as Lupus. It's been an extraordinary challenge for him; since then, he's had to do many recording dates while in awful pain, propped up by medication and will-power. Ironically, because he was forced to dig deeper to power through, because he never knew which project might be his last, he produced what I think are some of his most heartfelt and personal albums, including Follies, Death Takes a Holiday, Yank! and Fun Home. Tommy's kept working since 2006, because nothing has been more restorative than getting to collaborate with these amazing artists, on such glorious material -- but now we need to take some time to focus on his health. PS Classics isn't going anywhere, but for a time, we won't be releasing anything new; we'll simply continue highlighting -- and celebrating -- the many wonderful artists who've come our way, and the phenomenal CDs it's been our honor to release. We have a few upcoming albums planned, but for right now, they're taking a back seat to getting Tommy back on his feet. We thank you, our generous and loyal customers, for joining us on this incredible ride. Without you, without your support, we never would have dared dream so high, or ultimately, accomplish so much. We're so grateful to you all; we shall miss the emails and tweets and posts, but we look forward to seeing you back here when the time is right.

- Philip Chaffin, January 2017

Golden Apple
Posted on Tuesday, May 10, 2016
big apple
City Center Encores! has just announced that The Golden Apple will highlight their 2017 season. We'd like to think that our two-disc recording (featuring nearly 90 minutes of previously unrecorded music) had something to do with it - as it's been so rapturously received. Opera News called it one of the year's top-10 discs, while NPR hailed as "game-changing." Playbill proclaimed, "How often are we treated to a cast recording that is layered with such complexity and fullness of sound from the orchestra while a legion of voices come together to create sparkling and heavenly harmonies? A breathtaking bijou among the most celebrated gems of cast recordings." The Stamford Times tagged it as "a must for anyone who cares about the musical theatre," while across the country, the critic for The Bay Area Reporter, admitting it was "a recording I've been waiting for all my life," cheered, "We can now hear it in its full, adventurous, and rather fantastic form." And Fanfare Magazine raved: "It sports some of the best engineering I've heard from an opera - and wonder of wonders, it was recorded live. The greatest American opera ever written. Well done!" Order your copy today...

Tony Yazbeck
Posted on Thursday, April 28, 2016
relative pitch
We last worked with composer-lyricist Neil Bartram and bookwriter Brian Hill on The Story of My Life, which was a joy to preserve on disc. Last spring, we saw their latest musical, THE THEORY OF RELATIVITY, at Goodspeed, where it played to packed houses and standing ovations, and we knew instantly that we wanted to record it. As with Story of My Life, we respond not just favorably, but viscerally, to Neil and Brian's work, and Neil's songs in Theory -- although they're inspired and performed by young adults -- speak to us every bit as much as the songs from Story. And what's more, they sound just like Neil; his musical voice comes through so clearly, the mark of any great songwriter. We're proud to be part of the Relativity family, and with Music Theatre International now licensing the show, we predict it'll have a long and happy life. Click here to pre-order the album.

20th Century
Posted on Wednesday, April 27, 2016

sign it, lily
Many of you have been asking about it, and we're now happy to offer autographed copies of ON THE TWENTIETH CENTURY, signed by Kristin Chenoweth and Peter Gallagher. Click here to order now.

Tony Yazbeck
Posted on Tuesday, April 26, 2016

talkin about tony
The first review out of the gates for Tony Yazbeck's debut album THE FLOOR ABOVE ME was the review to end all reviews from Rob Lester at Talkin' Broadway, who called the album "elegantly produced" and raved that we "scored yet another coup bringing us a modern theatre star in a rewarding solo debut." He hailed the disc as "so striking you might be swept away" and noted "in his disarming patter and unjaded singing, and even the liner notes, coming through without a doubt are gentlemanliness, work ethic, gratitude, and appreciation for finding his professional success and finding his soul mate. His album is quite the find, too." You can read the full review here and order your copy here.

Cheyenne Jackson
Posted on Tuesday, March 8, 2015

renaissance man
We last worked with the amazing Cheyenne Jackson on Finian's Rainbow, and had spoken about collaborating again, but nothing came of it -- until last fall. Cheyenne had been touring with his one-man show, Songs of the Mad Men Era, with pops orchestras across the country; the music had become part of his blood, and he very much wanted the evening preserved on disc -- and thought of us. We heard the material, and jumped at the chance. It's spectacular. It harkens back to a dual high point in music history: the end of Hollywood's Golden Age, only sexier, and the start of the great era of Las Vegas entertainment, only classier. It's a remarkable synthesis, on which Cheyenne sings up a storm. We'll be in the studio this week with a full orchestra, under the baton of our pal Kevin Stites, recording Cheyenne's new solo disc, newly christened RENAISSANCE. Street date is June 3rd; preorder now!

Posted on Monday, December 7, 2015

Thank you all who've congratulated us on our Grammy nomination for FUN HOME in the category of Best Musical Theater Album. The Grammy nominations are always so wildly unpredictable, and we had no idea which -- if any -- of our 2015 releases might receive a nod. FUN HOME was among our most rewarding albums ever, so it's extremely gratifying that the Recording Academy chose to recognize it. Congratulations, too, to our nominated colleagues at other labels: Rob Fisher and Scott Lehrer at Masterworks Broadway, for An American in Paris; Alex Lacamoire, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Bill Sherman, Ahmir Thompson and Tarik Trotter at Atlantic, for Hamilton; David Caddick, David Lai and Ted Sperling, at Universal Music Classics, for The King & I; and Kurt Deutsch, Karey Kirkpatrick, Wayne Kirkpatrick, Lawrence Manchester, Kevin McCollum and Phil Reno at Ghostlight for Something Rotten! We're honored to be in such good company.

Posted on Monday, November 30, 2015

new york, new york
Our ON THE TOWN cast recording was featured in The New York Times' Holiday Gift Guide. "For Bernstein-lovers, here is an essentially complete On the Town, with all the songs, dance sequences and orchestral underwriting included. Bernstein wove whiffs of bitonality and hints of Copland into this ambitious score, along with those wonderful songs," raved Anthony Tommasini. "For this essential cast recording, the conductor James Moore draws stylish playing from an excellent orchestra."

Golden Apple
Posted on Monday, October 19, 2015

time and music
This past summer, we saw the Encores! Off-Center production of William Finn and James Lapine's A NEW BRAIN, starring Broadway, film and television star Jonathan Groff, along with Christian Borle, Ana Gasteyer and Aaron Lazar – all of them magnificent. New York magazine called the production a "miracle" and "revelatory," noting that Finn and Lapine's rewrites, as performed by this cast, at this particular time in history, made the show seem somehow more moving and invigorating than ever before – and we agreed. Jonathan Groff's lead performance was a one-of-a-kind mating of actor and role; as the New York Daily News raved, "Playing a composer determined to make his mark, the star leaves yet another one." It demanded to be seen – and if not seen, then heard. Today and tomorrow, we are recording the 95-minute, through-composed show in its entirety for the first time, and packaging it in a deluxe two-disc set. Pre-order your copy today...

Golden Apple
Posted on Thursday, October 15, 2015
Golden reviews
The internet and newsstands have been flooded with reviews for our deluxe two-disc cast recording of THE GOLDEN APPLE, which NPR hailed as "game-changing." Playbill proclaimed, "It bursts with energy like it never did before. How often are we treated to a cast recording that is layered with such complexity and fullness of sound from the orchestra while a legion of voices come together to create sparkling and heavenly harmonies? A breathtaking bijou among the most celebrated gems of cast recordings." The Stamford Times tagged it as "a must for anyone who cares about the musical theatre," while across the country, the critic for The Bay Area Reporter, admitting it was "a recording I've been waiting for all my life," cheered, "We can now hear it in its full, adventurous, and rather fantastic form." raved, "The album has the vibrancy of a live performance with studio-quality sound. The score offers delights for all kinds of show music fans. Most of us never expected to hear a full recording of this score with a cast and orchestra of this size and quality, and to have it delivered with such finesse is nothing short of a miracle" -- and Fanfare Magazine concurred: "It sports some of the best engineering I've heard from an opera - and wonder of wonders, it was recorded live. The greatest American opera ever written. Well done!" Order your copy today...

Posted on Tuesday, April 14, 2015
We were in the studio this past Friday with the cast of FUN HOME: updating and expanding our original recording -- not just with new material that Jeanine Tesori and Lisa Kron wrote for the Broadway production, but also with musical passages we didn't record last time around that, in hindsight, we very much wanted on the album. It also gave us the opportunity to work with the wonderful Emily Skeggs, who assumed the role of Medium Alison off-Broadway and is taking it uptown. FUN HOME, newly packaged, will be in stores May 19, and shipping from our website two weeks prior. For those wondering, as customers did with Grey Gardens, if it's worth buying the second album if you already own the first: well, we can report that over half the tracks will be new. For us, it wasn't just about "let's add the new material" -- it was about doing justice to this exhilarating and moving production. Pre-order now!

On the 20th Century
Posted on Wednesday, March 25, 2015
We had a marvelous time in the studio on Monday with the cast and orchestra of ON THE TWENTIETH CENTURY. Later this week, we'll be adding a TWENTIETH CENTURY page to our site, complete with cover art, product description and a very expansive track listing, but in the meantime, you can click here to pre-order. We'll begin shipping on May 5, two weeks ahead of street date.

Posted on Friday, March 13, 2015
Sometimes we meet a performer and realize instantly that we share a common outlook and work ethic. We worked with Tony Yazbeck for the first time on ON THE TOWN and felt very much in sync, so we were delighted when Tony reached out to us recently about joining him on another project. Tony is performing his one-man show, THE FLOOR ABOVE ME, this month at 54 Below. Later this spring, we'll be going into a New York studio and adapting the show for disc: preserving its core — in which Tony fuses song, dance and personal anecdotes into a moving autobiographical narrative — while augmenting the songlist and instrumental colors a bit, and allowing for the kind of sound that only a studio album can provide. We're delighted to be working with Tony again so soon, and doubly pleased to be working on an album that's so exciting and so novel. You can read more and pre-order here.

Posted on Wednesday, March 4, 2015

People often write us asking if we accept submissions, and even when we tell them to go ahead and send us a bio, or a link, or a disc, we caution them that our recording schedule is solidified months in advance, that we're usually drowning in paperwork, and that it might be a while before we can get back to them. But actor-singer Nicholas Rodriguez wrote us last August, introduced himself, and sent a few links of him singing -- and we knew then and there that we wanted to be involved in his first solo disc. He has one of those voices that the microphone loves, the ability to interpret a lyric with ease, and a comfort embracing a broad range of musical styles -- just what we look for when welcoming new artists. We're in the studio the next two days recording Nicholas's debut solo album. You can read more and pre-order here.

Golden Apple
Posted on Friday, February 20, 2015

Back in 1994, Tommy made the rounds of all the labels in town, trying to get them to undertake a studio cast recording of Jerome Moross and John Latouche's 1954 classic THE GOLDEN APPLE. No one bit. If you don't know GOLDEN APPLE, you sure as heck should, because it's glorious: the first off-Broadway musical to receive the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Musical. Sadly, this 135-minute through-sung musical, which transplants parts of the Iliad and the Odyssey to turn-of-the-century Washington State, was preserved only in a 48-minute original cast LP, and that's all most folks have ever heard. But this past fall, Lyric Stage of Irving, TX, mounted a fully-staged production, with a cast of 43 and an orchestra of 38. Moross's daughter, Susanna Tarjan, alerted us that the production was magnificent, and when we heard just how magnificent it was, we committed to a recording. We recorded the last four performances, and this spring, we'll unveil the first full-length recording of THE GOLDEN APPLE, one of the masterpieces of the American musical theatre. Pre-order our double-disc set now!

Judy Posted on Monday, February 16, 2015
Soundclips are now up for our upcoming two-disc New Broadway Cast Recording of ON THE TOWN. We'll be shipping product on or before March 3 (just as soon as we get our hands on it, we promise), so if you haven't done so yet, pre-order now! Digital sales (iTunes, etc.) will also begin March 3, with hard-good retailers to follow two weeks later.

Misia Posted on Monday, February 2, 2015
Vernon Duke has long been one of Tommy's favorite theatre composers. In the late '90s, while freelancing for Nonesuch Records, he proposed and ultimately produced an album of soprano Dawn Upshaw singing Duke; over a decade later, he restored and recorded one of our most acclaimed studio cast albums, Duke's forgotten 1946 musical SWEET BYE AND BYE. So it was with particular delight last fall that he received an invitation from Duke's widow, Kay Duke Ingalls, to produce a studio cast recording of a new musical featuring over two dozen previously-unheard Duke melodies. With book and lyrics by journalist and author Barry Singer, to melodies unearthed and arranged by Duke scholar Scott Dunn, this new musical, MISIA, celebrates the life of the legendary muse and patroness of fin de siecle Paris, whose coterie included Toulouse-Lautrec, Renoir, Proust, Chanel and Diaghilev. We've assembled one of the most stunning casts ever to grace one of our studio cast recordings, headed by Marin Mazzie in the title role, and we'll be recording MISIA, to all-new orchestrations by Jonathan Tunick, next month. We're awfully proud to usher in 2015 with one of the most fascinating and exciting projects we've ever taken on; pre-order now!

 Posted on Tuesday, January 30, 2015
2014 round up
For the first time since we started PS Classics, one of our CDs was spotlighted in The New York Times' Holiday Gift Guide. "Standing tall among the standout performances on Broadway last season was Sutton Foster's stirring turn as the title character in the revival of the Jeanine Tesori and Brian Crawley musical, VIOLET," raved Charles Isherwood. "Ms. Foster's performance, and the superb gospel-and-country-inflected score, have been preserved on a lush two-disc set, allowing the full scope of the musical to be preserved for the first time."

We released four cast albums last year, and singled out all of them at year's end. Steven Suskin chose FUN HOME, Violet and YANK! for his Holiday Gift Guide, while a separate list of Playbill's Best Cast Albums of 2014 honored Fun Home, LADY DAY AT EMERSON'S BAR & GRILL and Violet. Over at Talkin' Broadway, Rob Lester named Fun Home and Yank! among the year's top albums, hailing Fun Home as "brave and powerful, heartbreaking and occasionally hilarious" and labeling Yank! "a winning musical of the first rank."

We're very proud of the albums we released in 2014 and are looking forward to announcing several exciting new releases in the weeks ahead -- starting with MISIA!

Lady Day Posted on Tuesday, July, 15 2014
deep song
"It would have been enough," wrote New York Magazine in the first review of our Original Broadway Cast Recording of LADY DAY AT EMERSON'S BAR & GRILL, "to record for history Audra McDonald’s profane, repellent, hilarious, heartbreaking (and Tony-winning) inhabitation of Billie Holiday. But this 85-minute, two-disc live rendition of the event -- from preshow cocktail music to closing ovations -- in many ways improves on the stage experience, as everything extraneous to the central performance melts into audience hum. In a great season for cast recordings, this is surely the greatest". Entertainment Weekly echoed, "It’s the performance everyone’s been talking about: six-time Tony winner Audra McDonald's latest star turn, playing troubled blues singer Billie Holiday in the final months of her life. It’s a fully transportative experience for the audience, whose reactions help create the illusion carried by McDonald’s performance. To reflect that experience, LADY DAY was recorded live during performances of the show in late May. The two-disc set offers an immersive translation of the show, a feat not reflected in several of this season’s recent cast albums." LADY DAY hits stores today; don't miss it!

Lady Day Posted on Thursday, May 29, 2014
Lady Day
If you haven't yet seen Audra McDonald's mesmerizing, Tony-nominated performance as Billie Holiday in the Broadway production of LADY DAY AT EMERSON'S BAR & GRILL, then you've missed out on what New York Magazine called "one of the greatest performances I ever hope to see" and what the Huffington Post hailed as "stunning and heartbreaking... the performance of her career." In case you won't be able to get into NYC before the show concludes its limited run, or in case you've already enjoyed "the best 90 minutes you'll ever witness" (NY1) and want to experience it all again, we'll be at Circle in the Square this week, recording the full show live. The street date for our Original Broadway Cast Recording of LADY DAY AT EMERSON'S BAR & GRILL is July 15, but as always, folks who order directly from us will receive their discs first. Not to be missed!

Violet Posted on Tuesday, May 6, 2014
Won't they be surprised?
We committed to recording VIOLET a week before the show even started previews -- that's how bowled over we were by the final runthrough -- and happily, weeks later, once the show opened, it turned out the critics and awards committees shared our enthusiasm. VIOLET was an absolute pleasure to record -- the cast was in great voice and full of high spirits -- and we finished post-production ahead of schedule. Our two-disc Original Broadway Cast Recording of VIOLET hits stores on June 3 (it's hard to move up a retail release date, even when you find yourself ahead of schedule), but it will be available at iTunes, along with a full digital booklet, on May 20. Also, as a nice surprise to our web customers, we're beginning to ship today from our website, a full four weeks ahead of street date. Some of our customers have been ordering direct from us since our very first release; we're always happy when we can ship out our web orders nice and early. And while you're waiting for your order to arrive, we've posted no less than ten soundclips. Enjoy!

Fun Home Posted on Monday, March 10, 2014
come to the Fun Home ... instore
Our Original Cast Recording of FUN HOME soared to #2 on the Billboard Top Cast Album chart in its first week of release, by far our best first week ever for an off-Broadway show. This coming Thursday, March 13th, at 6 PM, authors Jeanine Tesori and Lisa Kron will be joined by the entire original cast -- Griffin Birney, Michael Cerveris, Roberta Colindrez, Noah Hinsdale, Judy Kuhn, Sydney Lucas, Beth Malone, Joel Perez and Alexandra Socha -- at a CD performance and signing at the Barnes & Noble at 86th & Lexington. As noted, the full cast will be performing as well as signing. FUN HOME was a joyous experience for all involved (and at Playbill last week, Steven Suskin called it “the best musical on the New York stage of 2013 — far outclassing the competition — and is thus far the best musical of the 2013-14 season. The cast recording presents Fun Home in all its brilliance -- treat yourself to the CD, now.”); join us as we celebrate its release this Thursday.

Violet Posted on Friday, March 28, 2014
bus stop
We saw the final run-through of VIOLET at Roundabout Theatre Company's rehearsal space last Wednesday: no set, no costumes, no orchestra -- just cast and script and score, and it was glorious. We remembered loving the show when it first played off-Broadway, but we couldn't imagine -- as we sat there, deeply moved, last Wednesday -- that it would ever see a finer cast than the one assembled here, headed by Sutton Foster, Colin Donnell, Alex Gemignani and Josh Henry. A lot of Jeanine Tesori and Brian Crawley's score was cut from the original recording, and they've written quite a bit of new material to boot, so there were lots of musical surprises as well, and we came away with the resolution to preserve VIOLET in its full glory. We'll be going into the studio a week from Monday to record a two-disc set. Street date is June 3, but as always, we'll be shipping two weeks ahead of street date to those who pre-order here!

Fun Home Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014
the next few weeks...
Our new cast recordings of FUN HOME and YANK! hit stores on February 25 (we had to bump them back a week, as the winter weather wreaked havoc with our printer’s schedule), but we’ll start shipping orders from our website this Tuesday, the 11th. In the meantime, over the next few days, we’ll be adding sound clips for both albums, so folks can sample and, should they desire, purchase. We’re enormously excited about both releases and how true they are to our mission of great theater music, brilliantly performed and beautifully sung.

SLD Posted on Tuesday, January 28, 2014
the last few weeks...
Two of our esteemed colleagues in the press – Steven Suskin at and Rob Lester at Talkin’ Broadway – weighed in recently with their “best of” lists, and three of our 2013 releases were singled out by both: Rebecca Luker’s I GOT LOVE (Songs of Jerome Kern), our two-disc cast recording of PASSION, and Philip Chaffin’s SOMETHIN’ REAL SPECIAL (The Songs of Dorothy Fields).

With regard to the latter album, just as it felt wonderful having customers and critics rediscover Kern at the start of 2013, it’s been just as gratifying seeing them rediscover Fields through the holiday season. The Toronto Star raved, “Here’s a blue-chip collection… Philip Chaffin has one of those warm, sophisticated voices that call to mind the finer products of Kentucky’s distilleries. Match him up with the dry, witty, bitters-flavored lyrics of the masterful Dorothy Fields, shake with a 23-piece orchestra and you’ve got a cocktail to cherish.” Both the Huffington Post and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer called the album “long overdue” and agreed that Philip was, in the words of the latter publication, “the singer for the job.” And Show Business tagged the album “a bullseye… Chaffin’s gorgeous, soaring baritone will make you hear these old songs in a fresh and thrilling new way.”

SLD Posted on Friday, November 22, 2013
welcome to our house on Maple Avenue
We saw FUN HOME at The Public Theater on the afternoon of November 3rd; afterwards, we ran into composer Jeanine Tesori in the lobby and said something gushy and pushy like "We want to record this." It's exactly the kind of beautifully scored, compellingly written, openly emotional piece to which we most respond, and although it's our first time working with Jeanine, we've worked many times with four of its stars -- Michael Cerveris, Judy Kuhn, Beth Malone and Alexandra Socha -- and look forward to doing so again, in the recording studio next Monday. If you haven't yet seen FUN HOME, which The New York Times hailed as "a beautiful heartbreaker of a musical," you can read more and pre-order here.

SLD Posted on Friday, November 22, 2013
"the Chaffin charm"
PS Classics co-founder Philip Chaffin's Dorothy Fields tribute, SOMETHIN' REAL SPECIAL, streeted just ten days ago, but it's already received a slew of great reviews. At Talkin' Broadway, Rob Lester cheered, "SOMETHIN' REAL SPECIAL radiates. Nothing can turn off the Chaffin charm. It's intrinsic and entrenched. And hooray for that. Chaffin, with unspoiled zeal and a feel for a romantic lyric, comes across as a true believer in true love." Former editor Ken Jones, in an expansive piece at his website, found Philip "rich, warm and varied," singling out “I’ll Buy You a Star,” “You’re a Lovable Lunatic,” "Sweet Charity” and "the compelling melding of Harold Arlen’s 'Let Me Look at You' and Kern’s 'The Way You Look Tonight.'” (At USA Today, Elysa Gardner singled out the latter track as one of her picks of the week.) And current reviewer Steven Suskin hailed the album as "an all-around delight. Dorothy Fields is a perfect match for Chaffin; his strong-but-flavorful voice does full justice to the music while serving up the songs with the twinkle-in-the-eye that Dorothy must have had when she sat writing them."

SLD Posted on Tuesday, November 19, 2013
My Soldier
We begin recording the off-Broadway cast album of the Zellnik brothers' YANK! this coming Thursday, but yesterday we were in the rehearsal room getting our first taste of the brand-new Jonathan Tunick charts, and as you can imagine, they are exquisite. We are so excited to (finally!) record this wonderful, funny and moving show on disc; if you don't know YANK!, or haven't yet placed your pre-order, you can do so here.

SLD Posted on Friday, September 20, 2013
four quick items
1. We've begun accepting preorders for our original cast recording of Scott Frankel and Michael Korie's FAR FROM HEAVEN. 2. We've begun accepting preorders for Philip Chaffin's latest solo disc, SOMETHIN' REAL SPECIAL (The Songs of Dorothy Fields). 3. We've posted an interview that producer Tommy Krasker did for The Sondheim Review, about the making of the PASSION CD. 4. We now have a limited number of autographed PASSION CD's for sale.

SLD Posted on Friday, September 13, 2013
Dorothy Fields Forever
From Tommy Krasker: "We've spoken for many years about Philip doing a solo album devoted to the work of one songwriter, but it took us almost a decade to find the right fit. At one point, we thought Kern, then we thought Mercer -- that actually ended up becoming his Southern album -- but then we both thought of Dorothy Fields, and it seemed both unexpected and very, very appealing. We poured through several hundred songs, and little by little, whittled them down to sixteen, a combination of standards and some lesser-known -- and in a few cases, previously unrecorded -- gems. Some of our favorite orchestrators -- including Jonathan Tunick, Doug Besterman, Jason Carr and John Baxindine -- came on board to join us, as did conductor James Moore, with whom we so enjoyed working on Follies. We started recording last April and finish tracking today: the album is entitled Philip Chaffin: SOMETHIN' REAL SPECIAL (The Songs of Dorothy Fields), from an unpublished song by Fields and Harold Arlen, and we look forward to sharing it with you in early November. You can read more, see a track listing, and pre-order here."

SLD Posted on Friday, September 13, 2013
Help wanted
Robert Edridge-Waks, who’s been our Editorial Coordinator these past four years, is leaving to devote more time to his writing career. So, help wanted: someone who writes well; who knows the difference between "their" and "there" and "they’re"; who knows why you capitalize "is" in a song title but not "in." Someone with a keen editorial eye, an agreeable disposition, a passion for fact-checking, and an understanding that God is in the details. You’ll be working on a project-by-project basis: attending sessions, writing product descriptions and press releases, and prepping and supervising all our CD booklets. If you are interested and qualified, please send an email, with an attached bio, to Note: this is a part-time position, financial details to be discussed.

SLD Posted on Friday, July 26, 2013
a couple of regular guys
We saw David and Joe Zellnik's YANK! at the York Theatre back in 2010, during its critically acclaimed, twice-extended, sold-out run. It was a gay love story set during World War II, and it was remarkable and moving: the kind of show audiences returned to multiple times. Following the off-Broadway run, the Zellniks continued to refine the work, and when we met with them this past spring, Yank! was an even better show, with three terrific new songs. We committed to recording it, but warned that -- with monies already set aside for Passion and Tom Sawyer -- we could only fund half of the production costs. The Zellniks have started a Kickstarter campaign to raise the remaining monies. Yank! is a wonderful work, and an important work, and we hope you'll help us preserve it on disc. Click here to contribute, and you might just be able to take home Yank! for Christmas.

SLD Posted on Wednesday, July 24, 2013
when I think of Tom...
Sometime in the early '80s, after he'd successfully launched his first Broadway musical Nine, Maury Yeston became fascinated with creating a quintessentially American ballet score, and seized upon The Adventures of Tom Sawyer as his inspiration. The creation of the score came swiftly, but it wasn't until providence introduced him to the remarkable choreographer William Whitener, decades later, that he finally pursued a production. TOM SAWYER: A BALLET IN THREE ACTS was premiered by the Kansas City Ballet in the fall of 2011, to huge critical and popular acclaim, and this past spring, the score was preserved in a two-disc set by the seventy-piece San Francisco Ballet Orchestra. It's a must-own not only for those who love Yeston, but for those who love great American music; soundclips will be up next week, but in the meantime, you can read more and pre-order here.

Posted on Friday, March 1, 2013
a date with Judy
We've been hoping to work with the wonderful Judy Kuhn since we started PS Classics, but the right opportunity never came along. Last year, she came to us after some hugely successful dates at Feinstein’s, to see if we wanted to help her preserve the evening on disc. We wanted to – but all our monies at that point were tied up with Follies and Porgy. So Judy, God bless her, started a Kickstarter campaign, and her fans, God bless them, really came through. And by the time Judy had almost reached her goal and was ready to go into the studio, we were able to jump back on board and help her bring the album to fruition. We’re thrilled to be releasing Judy’s latest solo album, ALL THIS HAPPINESS, on June 4th; you can read more and pre-order here.

Posted on Friday, February 22, 2013
...but she's only a dream
We recently posted a new About Us column, hinting at some upcoming projects. The first of these, which we’re thrilled to announce, is LAURA OSNES SINGS MAURY YESTON. Laura performed her evening of Yeston at 54 Below in November; we were overwhelmed, as was Maury, and once she opens in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella, we’ll be taking her and her band into the studio to preserve the evening on disc. (Maury has even reached into his trunk this past month to allow her to premiere a few Yeston gems that weren’t in the concert; it is, after all, the first solo disc of Yeston songs, done with Maury’s cooperation, input and blessing.) You can read more and preorder here.

Posted on Monday, February 4, 2013
a rave for Rebecca
Yesterday at, Steven Suskin weighed in on Rebecca Luker’s I GOT LOVE (Songs of Jerome Kern), and it was the kind of rave that only comes – as the opening track puts it – once in a blue moon. He called it “one of those CDs you can listen to over and over again … the perfect combination of composer and singer. You’ll want to listen to it repeatedly, immediately.” And although Steven rightly focused most of his attention on the extraordinary Ms. Luker, we were enormously pleased about this quick shout-out: “Let us also note that while this collection was assembled for a nightclub act, it sounds so much better because PS Classics took it into the studio.” When we first heard Rebecca’s show, and sat down with her to discuss a possible recording, we all agreed that the best way to preserve this particular show would be in the studio, with the repertoire and arrangements properly enhanced, and the material and performances allowed all the shadings and nuances they deserved. Steven concluded, “Maybe if we buy lots of copies of I GOT LOVE, Rebecca and her pals at PS Classics will take a second foray into the still treasure-laden Kern songbook.” Even if you’re not a customer who typically buys our solo discs, we hope you’ll check this one out: we feel that Rebecca’s performances -- like the Kern songbook they celebrate – are a treasure.

Posted on Friday, February 1, 2013
Noël and Cole
Our new recording of NOEL AND COLE, which starts shipping February 12, features Philip Chaffin, Matthew Scott and Elizabeth Stanley taking on Porter, while Sara Jean Ford, Euan Morton and Barbara Walsh make the case for Coward. Track by track, arranger David Loud and orchestrator Jason Carr eschew the standard arrangements you’ve heard a zillion times, and go for something far more creative and distinctive. And as interpreted by this wonderful cast, it’s like hearing two dozen great songs again for the first time. We’re very proud of NOEL AND COLE, so we’re doing something a little novel for its release – we’re offering variant front and back covers, so customers ordering from our website can choose Cole on the front and Noel on the back, or Noel on the front and Cole on the back. You can hear soundclips, check out the covers, and pre-order here. In addition to the U.S. and Canada, we're now accepting orders from Europe, Australia and Japan, and hope to add more regions in the coming months.

Posted on Monday, November 26, 2012
holiday sale and other news
A quick note to let folks know that our holiday sale has officially begun. This year, all CDs (except the current year's crop) are marked down, most to $14.95. And we've begun shipping our two new releases: Anthony Rapp's WITHOUT YOU and the Jerome Kern revue THE LAND WHERE THE GOOD SONGS GO. Between now and the end of the holiday season, 25% of all sales will be donated to the Red Cross, to assist victims of Hurricane Sandy.

Posted on Tuesday, November 6, 2012
Hurricane Sandy ravaged our area last week. Our hearts go out to all those who suffered unimaginable damage, and have been facing the challenge of recovering and rebuilding without heat, power or resources. A number of the artists with whom we've been working have been dealing with Sandy's aftermath, and as a result, we're pushing back our two November releases, the Jerome Kern revue THE LAND WHERE THE GOOD SONGS GO and Anthony Rapp's one-man show WITHOUT YOU, by two weeks. Shipping will begin here at PS Classics on November 26th, the same day we begin our annual holiday sale. In the meantime, track listings and soundclips are up for both albums. 25% of our profits from these albums (as well as all discs sold during our holiday sale) will be donated to the Red Cross, to assist -- in our own small way -- the victims of Hurricane Sandy.

Posted on Monday, November 5, 2012
make it another old fashioned
Last summer, as we were preparing to record David Loud's Jerome Kern revue, David mentioned another evening he was working on: one that showcased and paired, in unexpected ways, the songs of Noël Coward and Cole Porter. The show existed only on paper, but we approached some of the performers with whom we've most enjoyed working -- Sara Jean Ford, Elizabeth Stanley, Barbara Walsh, Euan Morton and Matthew Scott -- and suggested David complete his work with them in mind. NOËL AND COLE starts recording this month, and we're aiming for a January 29th release. As with Rebecca Luker's upcoming disc, we're not yet taking preorders (CCNow, the company that's handled our credit card transactions the last 12 years, is closing its doors, so we're having to make new arrangements), but we'll be alerting folks on our e-blast list just as soon as preorders begin.

SLD Posted on Thursday, October 18, 2012
stay old fashioned with me
Rebecca Luker performed an evening of Jerome Kern at 54 Below in July, and as with MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG earlier this year, we heard it and went, "This has to be recorded." Talk about a singer and a songwriter who are perfectly matched; hearing Rebecca's voice soar on standards like "The Song Is You," "The Folks Who Live on the Hill" and "Why Was I Born?" -- not to mention the lesser-known "Not You," "Saturday Night" and "I Got Love" -- was simply thrilling. We're recording it on November 7th and 8th, and aiming for a January 29th release; you can read more here. We should be starting preorders in the next three weeks; we'll be alerting folks on our e-blast list at that time. If you're not on our e-blast list, you can join it here.

Posted on Friday, September 21, 2012
no insults and all morals
In 2004, music director David Loud took over 30 Jerome Kern songs and arranged them, exquisitely, into a theatrical evening that charted the course of three couples: how they meet, fall in love, and face life's challenges. It was originally produced in D.C., then arrived in New York City at Merkin Concert Hall in November 2010, where we heard it and were entranced. It starred some of our favorite performers -- all of them PS Classics "alumni" -- and we've been trying since then to fund a recording. This summer, the final monies came in, and we'll be recording a two-disc set next week. You can read more, check out the songlist, and pre-order here!

Posted on Monday, September 17, 2012
no day but today
We're in the studio today, in London, recording Anthony Rapp's moving and memorable one-man show WITHOUT YOU, direct from its sold-out engagement at the Menier Chocolate Factory. In a five-star review, the London Times called it “transfixing in its truthfulness, an honest portrait of grief and growing up,” while Time Out London said Rapp offered "as moving and muscular performances of musical theatre as you’ll see on any stage this year.” You can read more and preorder here.

Posted on Friday, September 14, 2012
New/Old Christine
None of us here can remember why we didn't release THE CARLYLE SET, Christine Andreas's follow-up to our own HERE'S TO THE LADIES, but we keep thinking she must have been under contract to another label at the time. But that glorious album, first released in 2003, is now without a home, so we've snagged it and are proud to be re-releasing it. If you didn't grab it then, check it out now, hear a few soundclips, and make a purchase. We've marked it down to a special $14.95 pre-order price, and for the time being, we've marked down HERE'S TO THE LADIES as well.

Posted on Monday, July 23, 2012
I'm younger than that now
Last week, USA Today named our 2012 Encores! cast recording of MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG as "pick of the week," and we were furthered delighted to learn that, in its first week of release, it hit #1 on the Billboard Top Cast Album chart. MERRILY seems to have struck a nerve with both critics and customers, and we couldn't be more thrilled. Steven Suskin at raved, “While the original Broadway cast album sounds great, this new recording sounds better. The whole thing practically leaps off the disc.” Rob Lester at Talkin’ Broadway proclaimed it “rich and radiant and rewarding, renewing one's love affair with the show” and praised its “magnificent sound and production,” while TheaterMania’s Andy Propst declared, “It's tough not to fall in love with this superlatively produced disc from the moment that one hears Tunick's revised overture.” Midwest Records’ Chris Spector called it “another sure-fire winner for the musical theater fan from PS Classics,” and Joe Stead at Style Chicago noted that "while I will continue to cherish the other cast albums, including the 1981 Broadway original, this one is revolutionary in many ways," as no other recording of the show “will give you the full scope or better appreciation of this masterpiece than PS Classics’ latest labor of love assuredly does.”

Posted on Monday, July 9, 2012
iTunes upDate
We received a few emails from FOLLIES customers, disappointed that the digital booklet didn't include the lyrics. We take those comments seriously, so we're pleased to say that the iTunes digital booklet for MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG will include the full lyrics.

Posted on Tuesday, June 26, 2012
the movers and the shapers
Our new two-disc cast recording of the Encores! production of MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG starts shipping from our website today. The cast and creators had such a wonderful time making the album (we think that comes through on the CD itself) that they’ll be reuniting once more, at a CD signing on Tuesday, July 10th at 4 PM at the Barnes & Noble at 150 E. 86th St in Manhattan. Composer-lyricist Stephen Sondheim and orchestrator Jonathan Tunick will be joined by stars Celia Keenan-Bolger, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Adam Grupper, Elizabeth Stanley and Betsy Wolfe. (Colin Donnell, alas, will be out of town.) Hope to see you there!

Posted on Wednesday, June 13, 2012
leave it to Jayne
The Metropolitan Museum of Art recently asked if they could include "Broadway Baby" on a compilation CD they were doing, of songs from musicals set in New York City. We of course said yes, but we also felt the track might be more appropriate on a compilation disc as a Hattie solo, without Solange and the Whitmans mysteriously returning at the end. So the wonderful Jayne Houdyshell went back into the studio last month and recorded a new ending, and as a gift to our customers, we thought we'd make the solo track available here. You can download it on the FOLLIES page, just beneath the full track listing.

Posted on Thursday, June 7, 2012
both the Gishes think it's delicious
We were afraid our vintage restoration of Gershwin and DeSylva's SWEET LITTLE DEVIL, sandwiched between two double-disc sets (PORGY AND BESS and our upcoming MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG), might slip through the cracks, but happily, in the two weeks since release, it's received a flood of positive notices, probably the best we've had for any vintage album since KITTY'S KISSES. Andy Propst at Theatermania called it "a stunning studio recording, a buoyant joy," while Rob Lester at Talkin' Broadway hailed it as "a bright, bouncy, sprightly, spiffy, springy delight." At Style Chicago, Joe Stead found it "as close to heaven as the recorded musical theatre canon will allow," Midwest Record's Chris Spector proclaimed it "a lost Broadway classic...a tasty addition to any Broadway collection," while Joseph Lang, at Jersey Jazz, described it as "a bagatelle that will delight those who enjoy taking trips back to simpler days." Since 2009, we've been trying to do more of these studio cast albums of vintage shows, but as we've noted, we can only afford to do them if they sell. So if you haven't yet picked up SWEET LITTLE DEVIL, feel free to peruse the soundclips, and if you like what you hear, pick up a copy! You wouldn't believe the vintage restoration we're hoping to do next...

Posted on Tuesday, June 5, 2012
listen to that
Soundclips are now up for our new cast recording of Sondheim and Furth's MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG. Following the recording dates in early April, Celia Keenan-Bolger tweeted to her fellow cast members, “Remember when we had one of the best theatrical experiences ever and then it got recorded?” We think that enthusiasm -- shared by the cast, orchestra and all those in the recording studio those two days-- comes across on this album: affection not only for the experience, but for the piece itself, revised so brilliantly over the years by Sondheim and Furth and now fully orchestrated (from scratch) by Jonathan Tunick. Also up on the MERRILY page: an excerpt from a note by Mr. Tunick (from the CD booklet), in which he discusses his decision to reorchestrate the entire score, rather than just scoring the new numbers. MERRILY hits stores on July 10th, but order here, and we'll begin shipping on or before June 26th.

Posted on Monday, April 22, 2012
where did you go, George?
Track listings and soundclips are now up for both PORGY AND BESS and SWEET LITTLE DEVIL. The two CDs offer a wonderful opportunity to hear "early" Gershwin (from 1924, just before he achieved acclaim and celebrity for Rhapsody in Blue) and then hear where he went in just eleven short years -- and the soundclips give a nice little taste of that. (PORGY has 32 tracks, so make sure you scroll all the way down to hear all the clips.) Both CDs are on schedule for a May 8th web-release, two weeks prior to street date.

Posted on Sunday, March 25, 2012
see the pretty countryside
Stephen Sondheim and George Furth spent nearly twenty years perfecting MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG: not so much a rewrite as a transformation. Last year, original orchestrator Jonathan Tunick scored the new songs, and then went ahead and rescored the entire work, giving it a consistency and clarity he felt it deserved. Encores! performed it in February, and we were blown away. Talk about something that needed to be preserved on disc -- so we'll be doing just that on April 9 and 10, in a two-disc set. Preorder now!

Posted on Saturday, March 24, 2012
hello, George
We're recording the New Broadway Cast Recording of PORGY AND BESS this coming Monday and Tuesday. As long as we're recording George Gershwin's final Broadway score, it seemed sort of fitting that we restore and record one of his earliest scores as well: in fact, his earliest surviving score. SWEET LITTLE DEVIL dates from 1924, George wrote it with his then-regular lyricist Buddy DeSylva, and it's a delight. We have the original orchestrations from the post-Broadway tour (by Robert Russell Bennett), and we're recording it with a cast headed by Bethe Austin, Danny Burstein, Philip Chaffin, Sara Jean Ford, Jason Graae, Rebecca Luker and Sally Wilfert. Sam Davis is conducting, and David Loud did the vocal arrangements. Preorder now!

Posted on Saturday, February 25, 2012
I understan' now, I got Porgy
As we reported yesterday, we'll be recording the New Broadway Cast Recording of The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess on March 26th and 27th. Street date is May 22nd, but we'll begin shipping here at PS Classics on May 8th, two weeks ahead of street date, and we're offering the two-disc set at a special reduced price. Pre-order now!

Our e-commerce site, CCNow, was glitching yesterday, and we were delayed setting up pre-orders. Everything's working properly again now, so we're feeling relieved, and festive, so to that end: a free Porgy disc to the first person to identify the source of the song lyric quoted in the title above. Write us at

Posted on Friday, December 9, 2011
(from The Good Wife, original air date 02.10.2010) OK, we keep swearing this will be our last column for 2011, but we keep having these little updates. Our New Broadway Cast Recording of FOLLIES enjoyed the best first-week sales of any Sondheim cast album since the Original Broadway Cast Recording of Passion back in 1994. We just wanted to thank all our loyal and passionate customers for embracing it the way they have. FOLLIES pretty much doubled our initial sales projections, and its strength surprised our retailers as well: some have already run low on product. So as we're busy filling reorders, some key retailers may be shy on product for about a week around Christmas. Rest assured, if product does go out of stock, it'll be back in stock soon; and in the meantime, we'll always have a stash here at PS Classics should customers prefer to order directly from us. Thanks to all for your continued patronage, and we'll see you back here in 2012.

Posted on Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Blood on the Tracks
(from Medium, original air date 12.03.2010) We're aware that there's a glitch with the iTunes download of FOLLIES: we gather Disc One Track 9 is giving you Disc Two Track 9 instead. We delivered the tracks correctly (our esteemed Editorial Coordinator Robert Edridge-Waks sweated blood checking and double-checking), so somewhere en route to iTunes, something went awry. iTunes is working to address the problem, and our understanding is that as soon as it's fixed, customers who purchased the full album at iTunes will be able to go back and get the missing track ("Rain on the Roof") for free. We will keep you posted, we promise!

Posted on Friday, November 25, 2011
One to Go
(from CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, original air date 01.15.2009) This is probably our final column for 2011; we're taking a much-needed vacation starting December 10th. So a couple of quick announcements.

We posted a new About Us column. We're currently running our annual holiday sale, with 95% of our catalog marked down to $14.95. And although FOLLIES isn't marked down to $14.95, we are leaving it at the special $14.95 price for the time being.

Speaking of FOLLIES, we started shipping our new two-disc set a week ago Tuesday, and customers have been showering us with emails, some calling it "the definitive FOLLIES album," "the first recording to capture all of the magic that is FOLLIES," "the recording we have been waiting for for 40 years," "a FOLLIES worthy of the score and play," "incredible," "pure brilliance," and "a dream come true."  If you haven't yet ordered, grab it while it's on sale, and feel free to pick up some additional CD's for just $14.95. Like last year, half the profits from our sale will be donated to The Trevor Project, the leading national organization focused on crisis and suicide prevention efforts among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth.

Posted on Monday, November 14, 2011
You're Welcome
Congratulations to Jason Adams of Pensacola, FL, the winner of our "identify some of Tommy's favorite TV episodes" contest, which (happily) got way more entries than we anticipated. A lot of readers got two or three right, but Jason came through with a staggering five out of six (that would be "The Gift," Buffy the Vampire Slayer, original air date 05.22.2001; "Two Weddings," Cold Case, 02.28.2010; "To Whom It May Concern," Gilmore Girls, 01.30.2007; ; "The Girl Who Waited," Doctor Who, 09.10.2011; and "A Pretty Good Day," Judging Amy, 11.19.2002), missing only "Celebration" (Knots Landing, 02.10.1983). On its way to Jason: a complimentary FOLLIES disc. By the end of the day tomorrow, FOLLIES will also be on its way to all those who pre-ordered here. You're Welcome (another of Tommy's favorite episodes; from Angel, original air date 02.04.2004-- but sorry, we're done with contests for the year).

Posted on Tuesday, November 8, 2011
The Gift
We don't begin shipping FOLLIES until a week from today, but the number of pre-orders has already exceeded that of any album in our catalog. We're gratified that fans are as excited about the album as we are -- but we also recognize that times are tight, so we wanted to offer one more opportunity for someone to get a free FOLLIES disc before we start shipping in seven days. Here goes. The titles of the latest six notes on this page -- including this one -- are titles of six of Tommy's favorite TV episodes. Write us at, identify the shows and the original air dates (e.g., "The Gift," Joan of Arcadia, original air date: 5/14/04 -- which, by the way, is not a correct answer), and the first person to get all six right -- or whoever comes the closest to identifying all six -- wins a free FOLLIES set. Couple hints: they're all one-hour shows, and the earliest dates back to 1983.

Posted on Wednesday, November 2, 2011
To Whom It May Concern
A note from Tommy Krasker: Thanks to the nearly one hundred people who made submissions in our recent "guess-the-FOLLIES-track-listing" contest, and congratulations to the winner, Bradley Calise of Wentzville, MO. Final track listing now posted on the FOLLIES page. (The track list alone, of course, doesn't tell you all you might want to know; for example, the track called "You came; you're really here..." runs a full three minutes and fifty-four seconds -- you'll have to purchase the CD to find out everything that's on it!) Also posted, eight sound clips, one with a particularly fun surprise: a lyric Steve Sondheim re-wrote the day of the recording, between the second and third takes of that particular song. ("I finally figured out the right word after forty years," he was heard to comment.) In addition, a brief note from me, direct from the CD booklet, about this new recording edition. My goal was to truly capture the FOLLIES experience on disc, and I hope the resulting New Broadway Cast Recording does justice not only to FOLLIES the score but to FOLLIES that "brilliant show, extraordinarily intelligent, wonderfully entertaining [with] both a stunning direct appeal and rare complexity of feeling and structure," as Jack Kroll described it in 1971. As a reminder, we start shipping from PS Classics on November 15th, two weeks ahead of street date. Order now!

Posted on Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Two Weddings
Last year, we invited customers to guess the track listing for LA CAGE AUX FOLLES; we thought we'd do the same this year with FOLLIES. We've promised an "expansive" recording, and indeed, all the songs are there, plus dance music, some dialogue lead-ins, some scenes, some speeches -- you may think you've heard FOLLIES on disc, but trust us: not like this. We're still determining exactly where we'll be putting the ID's, but it looks like it will be a 33- or 34-track set. A free FOLLIES CD to the person who comes closest to guessing the correct track listing; write us at, and put FOLLIES TRACK LISTING in the subject line. A couple of hints. The Montage (i.e., "Rain on the Roof" et al) is currently ID'ed as three separate tracks, and there are no "bonus tracks" or "cut songs." And needless to say, for dialogue tracks, you don't need to guess the right track "name" -- just let us know what scene you think we're including (e.g., Track 23: the scene with Ben and Phyllis before "Could I Leave You?"). We'll be unveiling the final track listing, with soundclips, a week from today!

Posted on Tuesday, September 13, 2011
The Girl Who Waited
Maury Yeston's DEATH TAKES A HOLIDAY concerns a young woman named Grazia Lamberti, who's been waiting all her life for that one true love to appear; she finds him in the guise of Prince Nikolai Sirki, and the resulting love story is set to some of the most gorgeous and haunting songs written for the musical theatre in the last decade or two. You can listen to soundclips now by clicking here. And then, for heaven's sake, if you haven't pre-ordered the CD yet, what are you waiting for? It's a new score by Maury Yeston; it doesn't get better than that! We'll begin shipping September 27th.

Posted on Monday, September 12, 2011
An intern who worked for us in 2003 wrote recently, amused by two of our recent releases, both live albums, as he recalled our once saying that we don't like live albums. We're pretty sure that's not what we said; we probably noted instead we only consider releasing live albums a) if they're really, really, really well-recorded, and b) if there's a reason to do them live: if there's something about the evening -- the story-telling, the response, the rapport between singer and audience, the intimacy (or conversely, the high spirits), the fluidity -- that would be difficult to duplicate in a studio setting. Such was the case with Kate Baldwin's SHE LOVES HIM (Live at Feinstein's) which benefitted from being preserved live, and happily has received lavish praise from critics and customers.

Of SHE LOVES HIM, Kate Baldwin's salute to Sheldon Harnick (on which the master lyricist joins her for several tracks), Next Magazine called it "superb," Theatermania praised its "beauty and aplomb," while Edge Magazine went into song-by-song detail: "She stuns with 'Will He Like Me,' 'You’re Going Far,' and 'I Couldn’t Be With Anyone but You,' all ballads that sweep you off your feet with her honeyed tones, buttery belt, and appealing sincerity. Her blending of 'Sabbath Prayer' with 'Far From the Home I Love' is breathless enough, but finishing it off with the exultant 'Matchmaker' whips the drama into a frenzy that will sweep you right up with it." And Steven Suskin at noted, "Baldwin is the soprano who warmed Broadway's cold heart when she played Sharon, the lass from Glocca Morra, in the 2009 revival of Finian's Rainbow. She was just as grandish at Feinstein's; imagine what Baldwin can do with 'Will He Like Me?' or 'When Did I Fall in Love?' and you'll get a good idea of how the evening went. You needn't imagine it; PS Classics has brought the act to CD." Kate and Sheldon will be celebrating the CD release with a performance and signing at the Barnes & Noble at 150 E. 86th St. in Manhattan this Thursday, September 15th, at 5 PM.

Posted on Thursday, September 1, 2011
A Pretty Good Day
With all the destruction Irene brought to our region last weekend, and all the ongoing clean-up, it seems almost inappropriate or somehow callous to note the nice things that happened while -- well, while we were waiting for the lights to come back on. NPR ran a story on SWEET BYE AND BYE a week ago (which you can access here) and we learned on Tuesday that, as a result, sales tripled from the previous week, meaning a lot of new folks took the opportunity to sample this forgotten show, which is a very good thing. And the same day, we learned that three of our albums were among the 10 Best-Selling Cast Albums at A MINISTER'S WIFE at #5, FOLLIES at #6, and DEATH TAKES A HOLIDAY at #8. We promised this year to really limit our albums to projects we cared deeply about: to do them for us, and hope our customer base followed. We're enormously grateful to see folks responding. Continued thanks to all our customers for their kind and loyal support.

Posted on Monday, August 22, 2011
one more souvenir of bliss
The "bliss" in question is James Goldman & Stephen Sondheim's FOLLIES, one of the truly legendary works of the American musical theatre. The "souvenir" in question is our two-disc New Broadway Cast Recording of the Kennedy Center production, directed by Eric Schaeffer with choreography by Warren Carlyle and music direction by James Moore, currently in previews at Broadway’s Marquis Theatre. With a 28–piece orchestra, FOLLIES features a cast of 41 and stars Bernadette Peters, Jan Maxwell, Danny Burstein, Ron Raines and Elaine Paige. We'll be recording October 3rd and 4th, unveiling the album in stores on November 29th, but shipping from our website two weeks prior to that. And from now till street date, you can purchase the double-disc here for just $14.95, a savings of more than 35% off list price. Pre-order now!

Posted on Friday, August 12, 2011
time for a holiday
No, no, we're not going on holiday -- we usually wait till winter to do that. The title refers to the fact that last Monday, we had the honor and the fun (and trust us, recording dates aren't typically fun, but this one was) of recording two-time Tony Award-winner Maury Yeston's newest musical, DEATH TAKES A HOLIDAY, which The New York Times hailed as “one lush, soaring number after another ... a gorgeously sung, melody-rich score.” And indeed it is, as one might expect from Mr. Yeston, one memorable tune after another -- and spectacularly performed by a cast headed by Kevin Earley, Jill Paice, Michael Siberry, Rebecca Luker, Simon Jones and Matt Cavenaugh. Street date is October 11th, but we'll start shipping on September 27th.

Posted on Monday, July 11, 2011
Last week's passing of former First Lady Betty Ford (no, not pictured left -- don't be rude) reminded us of the virtues of candor; she was a great lady who was never afraid to speak her mind. Over the past few months, we've been touting SWEET BYE AND BYE as "perhaps the greatest lost score in the musical theatre canon," and we've received some ribbing for that. It's not the kind of statement you're supposed to make, at least in print. Nonetheless, we think it's true, and although it's a bold assertion, it's our opinion, and we're sticking to it.

What we can state as fact, however, is that we've never done a recording where, prior to street date, we've received so many complimentary notes. Several of the actors involved with SWEET BYE AND BYE wrote us shortly after receiving their advance copies to tell us how much they loved the album; musicians, too. Folks in the business, and customers who preordered at our website. And given that the album doesn't even street till tomorrow, we can't think of another occasion when we've already gotten so many reviews this early on; we're thrilled that interest seems high.

At Style Chicago, Joe Stead found it "an absolutely delicious and memorable score ... sublimely melodic and frequently hilarious, as good as musical comedy preservation and resuscitation gets. " Edge Magazine's J. Peter Bergman found it a worthy reminder of "how good Vernon Duke was at writing songs for Broadway. Its 26 tracks are filled with hauntingly lovely tunes" -- and although Bergman doubted our assertion that it was perhaps the great lost score, he admitted it was "wonderful to have years of wondering brought to a stereophonic conclusion." Chris Spector at Midwest Records, on the other hand, did agree with our estimation of the score, hailing that it "takes you back to the time [when] writers really had something to say. This was a flop? Unthinkable. Follow the adventures of Solomon Bundy through time and enjoy a treat that’s not a forbidden fruit but one that was out of reach for far too long. Top shelf all the way."

Posted on Friday, June 10, 2011
in affairs of the heart, how Kate was great
We've already announced our upcoming recording of Kate Baldwin's SHE LOVES HIM, in which Kate -- following her triumphant debut album LET'S SEE WHAT HAPPENS -- takes on the work of another songwriter she ardently adores: here, the wonderful Sheldon Harnick, who joins her for a half-dozen numbers. But now we have a special offer to share with customers: an invitation not only to purchase the CD, but to come see Kate and Sheldon perform at Feinstein's at the Regency in a special show on July 14th, and to stay after for a VIP champagne toast and meet-and-greet. You can check out the offer in detail here.

Posted on Wednesday, June 8, 2011
an orgy of Georgie Shaw
A quick note to announce that we'll be recording the original off-Broadway cast album of Lincoln Center Theater's production of A MINISTER'S WIFE, by Joshua Schmidt (which whom we had the privilege of collaborating on ADDING MACHINE: THE MUSICAL), Jan Levy Tranen and Austin Pendleton. We'll be taking the cast, as directed by Michael Halberstam, into the studio at the end of the month, and we're aiming for a late August release. You can read more here and preorder here.

Posted on Sunday, May 8, 2011
Last Tuesday, on a particularly awful business day (the kind of day when the bad news just keeps on comin'), Tommy was heard to exclaim, "I hate the world, Tillie," a quote (or slight misquote, as it turns out) from Paul Zindel's Pulitzer Prize-winning play The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds. A few days later, we were saddened to learn that the actress who had first uttered that phrase, the amazing Sada Thompson, had passed away at age 83. We lost a lot of great people in the arts last week, but for those kinds of subjective reasons that sometime defy explanation, Ms. Thompson's passing proved particularly upsetting. We never saw her performance in Marigolds, or her Tony Award-winning quadruple turn in Twigs (of which Walter Kerr wrote that she "does not simply give a stunning performance -- she gives four of them"), and her only long-running television role, her Emmy-winning portrayal of matriarch Kate Lawrence in ABC's Family, was so softened and muted after the first full season that it ultimately gave her little opportunity to shine. But if you want to see an inkling of the force that was Sada Thompson, check out this clip from the pilot of Family, as mesmerizing now as it was in 1976, then check out this equally affecting one from later in the same episode.

Posted on Friday, April 29, 2011
Did you think you'd get a prince?
On this particular day when William and Kate have exchanged vows, perhaps it's fitting that we announce a pairing of our own: not of British royalty, but of Broadway royalty. Kate Baldwin will unveil her second solo disc on PS Classics this summer with the release of SHE LOVES HIM: Kate Baldwin Sings Sheldon Harnick, which we recorded live at Feinstein’s in March. The album is dedicated to the songs of Sheldon Harnick and includes not only favorites from his biggest hits -- Fiddler on the Roof, She Loves Me and Fiorello! -- but rarely-heard songs from his early Off-Broadway career, film scores and unproduced musicals. Harnick even joins Baldwin on several selections, making it very much a "royal pairing." (Harnick, of course, has been a member of the Broadway elite for decades now; Kate is not only a 2010 Tony Award-nominee for her starring role in Finian’s Rainbow, but it is perhaps worth noting that her character's lineage in that particular show is of such quality stock that, in the words of Yip Harburg and Fred Saidy, "her whole family tree for generations consists of nothing but ancestors.") Look for SHE LOVES HIM in early July.

Posted on Friday, April 22, 2011
to be alive in such an age
When we brought out our studio cast recording of KITTY'S KISSES in late 2009, we mentioned that we needed to sell 2500 units to fund our next in-house restoration: SWEET BYE AND BYE, by Vernon Duke (pictured) and Ogden Nash. Well, we didn't hit 2500, but with a little help from our friends, we're delighted to announce that this summer, we'll be unveiling a studio cast recording of SWEET BYE AND BYE -- conducted by Eric Stern, with a cast featuring Danny Burstein, Philip Chaffin, Sara Jean Ford, Telly Leung, Michele Ragusa, Graham Rowat, Jim Stanek and, in the leading role originated by Dolores Gray, Marin Mazzie. A futuristic farce sending up big business, telecommunications, self-help groups and even the traditions of courtship and matrimony, at heart SWEET BYE AND BYE is a simple love story with some of the most beautiful ballads Broadway had ever heard. Duke and Nash's score was pretty much decimated during its pre-Broadway tryout in 1946 (a tumultuous month filled with cast replacements, nervous breakdowns, and backstage violence), but producer Tommy Krasker, our editorial coordinator Robert Edridge-Waks, and orchestrator Jason Carr have been working feverishly to restore SWEET BYE AND BYE to its original glory -- for indeed it is a glorious accomplishment. Look for it in late June!

Posted on Tuesday, April 5, 2011
In Godiva We Trust
In 1930, George and Ira Gershwin scored a Broadway hit with their landmark STRIKE UP THE BAND, a satire of war profiteering and jingoism about a chocolate magnate named Horace J. Fletcher who finances a war against the Swiss; sixty years later, producer Tommy Krasker restored the work, and began to record it, under the auspices of the Ira and Leonore Gershwin Trusts, with a cast featuring Brent Barrett, Rebecca Luker, Don Chastain, Jason Graae, and Beth Fowler, among others. That recording was never completed or released (only an early version of STRIKE UP THE BAND, a very different score heard during the show's ill-fated pre-Broadway tryout in 1927, was issued on disc, by our friends at Nonesuch Records), but this past winter, with the support of Michael Strunsky, Robert Kimball and Michael Owen -- President, Artistic Advisor and Archivist, respectively, of the Ira and Leonore Gershwin Trusts -- and Betty Auman, of the Music Division of the Library of Congress, we got back to work, and completed the world premiere recording of the 1930 Broadway score of STRIKE UP THE BAND, which PS Classics will be unveiling on June 21st. STRIKE UP THE BAND also marks our 100th album, and we can't think of a better way to celebrate. Here's a recording 20 years in the making, of a landmark musical from over 80 years ago. Let the drums roll out...

Posted on Tuesday, February 8, 2011
"Okay, kid, this is where it gets complicated."
We're back, rested and refreshed, from our annual winter vacation -- having consumed about two dozen current films, ten episodes of Relic Radio ( -- check it out), and Season 5 of "Doctor Who" -- and gearing up for our spring and summer releases. And although we're not ready to announce anything yet, we're looking at a set of CD's as exciting, unexpected and unconventional as any in our ten-year history. The oldest music is from twenty years ago, the newest from sixty years ago. (Huh?) The furthest project is happening 3000 miles away, the closest is taking place 6000 miles away. (What?) Well, we warned you it was complicated -- don't blink, or you might miss something.

Meanwhile, we're in a festive, belated-new-year, early-valentine mood, so a free CD (of your choice) to the first customer to correctly identify the title of this column.

Posted on Thursday, December 2, 2010
Thanks to all who've called or emailed to congratulate us on our two Grammy nominations, for A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC and SONDHEIM ON SONDHEIM in the category of Best Musical Show Album. The Grammy nominations are always wildly unpredictable, and we had no idea which -- if any -- of our 2010 releases might receive nods. But NIGHT MUSIC and SONDHEIM ON SONDHEIM were among our most challenging and rewarding albums this year, so it's extremely gratifying that the Recording Academy chose to recognize them. Congratulations, too, to our nominated colleagues at other labels: Billie Joe Armstrong at Reprise, for American Idiot; Robert Sher at Knitting Factory, for Fela!; and David Caddick & David Lai at Masterworks Broadway, for Promises, Promises. We're honored to be in such good company.

Posted on Monday, November 15, 2010
Tommy's favorite couplets
Tommy has long maintained that his three favorite musical theatre couplets are Ogden Nash's "One way to be very wealthy/Is to be very, very, very rich" -- plus two by Comden & Green: "Sue, Sue, Sue, I love you, honey/Sue, Sue, Sue, give me your money" and "Why am I even considering this?/Is it the two hundred thousand dollars?" Since these all have to do with money, we thought it would segue nicely into our announcement that we've begun our annual holiday sale, with 95% of our catalog marked down to $14.95 from now through the end of the year. This year, half our profits will be donated to The Trevor Project, the leading national organization focused on crisis and suicide prevention efforts among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) youth.

On a related note, last year, when we released our restoration of the 1926 musical comedy KITTY'S KISSES, we mentioned that we needed to sell 2500 units to fund recording of our next vintage restoration, Vernon Duke and Ogden Nash's forgotten Sweet Bye and Bye. Sold to date on KITTY'S KISSES: 1042 units. So as you're purchasing holiday gifts, don't forget to throw in a KITTY'S KISSES as a gift for friends or family.

We appreciate your business.

Posted on Saturday, November 6, 2010
Fancy or not a stitch / Which is better?
In 2004, Steven Suskin at wrote of our just-released Original Broadway Cast Recording of ASSASSINS, "Does this new [CD of] Assassins supplant the worthy original? My answer, on consideration, is a definite 'yes.'” In 2006, of our London Cast Recording of SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE, he predicted, "I already foresee the Evans–Russell Sunday becoming my Sunday of choice, and I am glad to pass on an unqualified recommendation for this CD." And last weekend, in critiquing our new LA CAGE AUX FOLLES disc, he summarized, "Watching the Chocolate Factory production at the Longacre, and listening to the new CD from PS Classics, I must say that I wholeheartedly prefer virtually everything about it [to the original]."

Which is not to say that Mr. Suskin loves everything we do here at PS Classics -- in fact, some of his most critical reviews have been saved for some of our favorite releases -- or that we ourselves would posture our new Broadway cast recording is "better" than the original. (As Tommy notes in his recent interview, the last thing we're thinking about when we take on a revival is competing with -- or heaven knows, supplanting -- the original.) We're just pleased that someone who loves the new, Tony Award-winning Broadway revival feels we captured its emotional heart and brassy spirit on disc.

And happily, Suskin's colleagues have agreed. At Next Magazine, David Hurst cheered, "Beautifully produced, this new recording holds its own—and then some!" Rob Lester at Talkin' Broadway observed, "PS Classics has given us a sparklingly and solidly produced cast album with another of their generous booklets." And at Theatermania, Andy Propst raved, "This immaculately produced disc not only preserves Douglas Hodge's Tony Award-winning performance as Albin/Zaza and Kelsey Grammer's Tony-nominated turn as Georges, but it also captures the show's bountiful heart and humor. The affection that the two characters [display] for one another is entirely palpable on the recording."

Posted on Monday, November 1, 2010
tin, tin tin... in Desiree's "He's a tin soldier -- arms, legs, brain -- tin, tin, tin!"

Ten years ago today, on November 1, 2000, we released our first album, Philip's evocation of the big-band era, WHERE DO I GO FROM YOU? At that time, we had no plans to become an ongoing record label, but well -- shit happens. It's been a rewarding, at time maddening, and frequently exhilarating ten years, and we wanted to take a moment to thank our loyal customers, some of whom have been buying directly from us here at since that very first CD.

We posted a new About Us column recently, laying out -- with equally parts jocularity and concern -- some of the challenges we're facing, but more important, noting how we'll be outlaying our profits from now through the end of the year. FYI, if you'd like to help us aid the worthy cause we're supporting, we'll begin our holiday mark-down sale early this year: two weeks from today.

And on a lighter note, the traditional gift for a ten-year anniversary is tin. The modern gift is diamond jewelry. Far be it from us to be sticklers for tradition, so feel free to send diamonds.

Stephen Sondheim
Posted on Monday, September 27, 2010
we've got God
Our Original Broadway Cast Recording of SONDHEIM ON SONDHEIM was released four weeks ago, and the critics have been cheering ever since. At USA Today, Elysa Gardner titled her review, "Something Appealing, Something Enthralling," and cheered, "From its stars — the affable, robust Tom Wopat; the relentlessly charming Vanessa Williams and the peerless Barbara Cook — to its supple-voiced, expertly-used supporting players, the ensemble captures the piercing wit and the dizzying peaks of joy and heartache in these intricate but highly approachable treasures." At Theatermania, Andy Propst noted, "There's been a lot of Stephen Sondheim's music offered up this year as he celebrates his 80th birthday, but the most lasting gift could very well turn out to be the original cast recording of SONDHEIM ON SONDHEIM. Transferred to disc with care and taste by producer Tommy Krasker, it's a little like the songwriter has pulled up a chair to have a one-on-one conversation with you."

Steven Suskin at Playbill found called the performances “exceptional” and Sondheim’s commentary “endlessly fascinating,” while Rob Lester at Talkin' Broadway hailed the album as "illuminating and entertaining." From down under, Jim Murphy in the Melbourne Age gave it five stars, raving, "These two CD's encapsulate an enthralling show, with 37 songs displaying Sondheim's genius interwoven with his revealing commentary." In the Philadephia Inquirer, Jonathan Takiff gave it an "A", praising the "vocal firepower" of the three stars and the "entertaining narration by the subject himself," while Chris Spector at Midwest Records deemed it “must listening for any true show music fan, as something like this will never come this way again.”


Posted on Monday, August 23, 2010
making tracks
As we work feverishly to put the finishing touches on our New Broadway Cast Recording of LA CAGE AUX FOLLES, we've finalized the track list. Congratulations to Chris Grum of Sugar Land, TX, R.J. Lowe of Vienna, WV, and Brandon T Miller of Harrisburg, PA, for coming closest to guessing the final track list. And thanks to all who entered our "guess the LA CAGE track list" contest (we had nearly 150 entries), and thanks for the enthusiastic and excited notes that often accompanied those entries. You can view the final track list, hear soundclips, and preorder here.

Posted on Monday, August 9, 2010
Love on a Summer Afternoon
We first worked with conductor Sam Davis a decade ago, when he joined us for some concerts celebrating Philip's first CD. But we really only began to focus on his gifts as a composer in the last few years: first when he co-authored two of the tracks on Georgia Stitt's THIS ORDINARY THURSDAY, then when he supplied the title track to Rebecca Luker's GREENWICH TIME. We asked Sam if he'd send along some other songs he'd written, and by the time we were on the third tune, we knew we had the makings of a beautiful album. Sam composes in many styles, but in particular, there's a romantic yet rueful quality to much of his work that especially attracted us. The other thing that struck us is how many of his songs were written to be sung by men. With the prevailing wisdom that musical theatre is a "diva's" medium, we thought it would be fun to do an album with all men: 15 or 17 great male Broadway singers. We're looking to release LOVE ON A SUMMER AFTERNOON on November 2nd; you can read more about it, and more about Sam, and even preorder here.


Posted on Sunday, August 8, 2010
21 Going on 22
Whenever we announce a new cast album, there's immediate speculation about the track list. As we've noted before, we have to set up new CDs in retail three months prior to street date, usually before we've even set foot in the studio, so what goes out to retail is a 'mock' track list -- often drawn from the show's Playbill. The final track list evolves over time. We can't tell you right now whether LA CAGE AUX FOLLES -- spectacularly preserved on disc by Kelsey Grammer, Douglas Hodge and company last week -- will end up being 21 or 22 tracks. (It depends if we give one short item its own ID.) But what we can say is that we've retained a lot of the encores, playoffs and reprises that are so much a part of the show, and that we've done our darndest to capture that marvelous 'bird's eye' view of the club that exists in the theatre. We think fans of the show -- and fans of the production -- will be pleased. We'll be announcing the final track list in two weeks. In the meantime, a free LA CAGE album to the person who comes closest to guessing the correct track list; write us at, and put LA CAGE TRACK LISTING in the subject line.


Posted on Thursday, July 22, 2010
L. Gardner
We were reminded this past week of an episode of Newhart called "Hi, Society"; the main plot involves Dick escorting Stephanie to a posh party in New York City, where she instructs him that whenever he's at a loss for words, to "throw your head back in a playful manner and laugh knowingly" (advice that's come in handy here at PS Classics, by the way). But the subplot -- the relevant plot here -- concerns one L. Gardner, a guest at the inn who checks in while everyone's asleep, and the ongoing efforts of Joanna, George and Larry to determine if L. Gardner is a man or a woman. Only the two Darryls have actually seen L. Gardner, and of course, they're mute. When one of the Darryls mimes that L. Gardner is a woman, and the other mimes that L. Gardner is a man, Larry is left to conclude that L. Gardner must be (wait for it) "a swing dancer from the road company of the lilting Jerry Herman musical La Cage aux Folles."

We were reminded of this episode this past week because we will, to our delight, be recording the new Broadway cast album of the lilting Jerry Herman musical LA CAGE AUX FOLLES, starring Kelsey Grammer and Douglas Hodge, and winner of three 2010 Tony Awards, including Best Revival of a Musical and Best Actor in a Musical.  Look for a late September release, or preorder your copy here, and receive it two weeks ahead of street date!

Posted on Monday, July 12, 2010
The Boys of Summer
The Broadway Boys -- a collection of the hottest tenor voices currently working on the New York Stage -- released their debut disc, LULLABY OF BROADWAY, on PS Classics on June 8th, and it instantly shot to #6 at iTunes. The group's distinctive way of infusing elements of pop, gospel, funk and jazz into traditional Broadway repertoire (creating an evening that has been called "A Symphony of Sound") has been so graciously welcomed by customers and applauded by critics (at Theatermania this week, Andy Propst called it a "vibrant disc where standards like 'The Impossible Dream' (Man of La Mancha) and John Lennon's 'Imagine' are reinvigorated to extraordinary effect with gloriously complex, ear-pleasing harmonies") that we've already begun work on a follow-up disc, a holiday album to be released in late Fall.

But in the meantime, if you haven't yet picked up LULLABY OF BROADWAY, you can sample clips and purchase the full CD here, or choose your favorites to purchase over at iTunes. Most popular tracks at iTunes: "Defying Gravity" and "Lullaby of Broadway," although we here have a special fondness for "Feelin' Good," "I Don't Care Much," "Mama, A Rainbow" and "Shadowland." It's 14 splendid tracks, and you can't go wrong with any.


Stephen Sondheim

Posted on Tuesday, June 1, 2010
ten years
That's how long we've been in business now, since the release of (A&R Director) Philip Chaffin's WHERE DO I GO FROM YOU? (designed as a one-off, with no thought of actually becoming an ongoing label) back in November of 2000. It's also how long (Executive Producer) Tommy Krasker has had the honor of working with Stephen Sondheim, since he produced the cast recordings of Saturday Night and Sweeney Todd: Live at the New York Philharmonic back in the spring of 2000. (It's also a key plot point in the Friends episode entitled "The One With Joey's Big Break" -- "she's been dead for ten years" -- but that's not really relevant here.) So it seems fitting that during this anniversary year, PS Classics should have the opportunity to celebrate Sondheim's legacy with the two-disc original Broadway cast recording of SONDHEIM ON SONDHEIM, which we'll be recording this coming Sunday and Monday and which you can preorder here now and receive the week of August 9th, a full three weeks ahead of street date.

With our ten-year anniversary upon us, we've also taken this opportunity to engage designer Mark Bakalor to create a new PS Classics website: one that will make it a little easier for customers to maneuver among our 90 CD's, search our catalog (e.g., "What CDs are Rebecca Luker on?"), check out What's New, and find product best-suited to their particular tastes.


Michael Kuchwara

Posted on Sunday, May 23, 2010
Michael Kuchwara (1947-2010)
“When you're young, your whole life is first times: first date, first prom, first time you fall in love. And then one day you look up and your life is full of last times.” – Karen MacKenzie, Knots Landing

The first time I met Mike Kuchwara was in 1987, when the AP assigned him to write up a production of Lady, Be Good! I helped revive. We became fast friends. In those days before caller ID, when he would call me and I'd answer the phone, he'd announce himself as "AP Theatre Desk," and I'd respond excitedly "Kuch!" A call from Mike was always a treat. At some point, Mike and I discovered we were both fans of Knots Landing, which only strengthened our bond. When Mike learned that I was obsessed with TV ratings, he started faxing me the weekly TV ratings every Tuesday afternoon, hot off the AP presses. Those continued to arrive every Tuesday until a week before he died. When Philip and I started PS Classics, we made sure Mike got a courtesy copy of all our CD's, but that didn't stop him from visiting our website every time we had a new release and purchasing additional copies as gifts for friends; his sweetness and generosity were boundless.

The last time I saw Mike Kuchwara was at the recording session for The Story of My Life. He was writing a story about the value of recording cast albums of short-lived shows, but he was also there as a fan -- not just of the show, but much more to the point, of theatre in general. Mike loved theatre; during the 23 years I knew him, his enthusiasm never waned. He was tireless. And just as he was rarely unkind when he penned a negative review -- he could be critical, but so rare in this business, never gratuitously unkind -- he was a gentleman in real life. A good man, a dear friend. Loyal and thoughtful and caring. Philip and I will miss him dearly.

-- Tommy Krasker


Posted on Sunday, April 11, 2010
that woman who mooned Atlanta
Occasionally, when a celebrity dies, we're tempted to print a brief remembrance. But we recognize that others could honor their legacy far more eloquently than we could, so we let the moment pass, unacknowledged. But for Dixie Carter, who passed away yesterday, we'll make an exception. During the final season of Designing Women, when the show was on its last legs, Ms. Carter noted that the cast was doing the best they could, but "if it's not on the page, it's not on the stage." The truth is that, even when the show was in its prime, the best Designing Women scripts -- head-and-shoulders above most TV fare -- wouldn't have been nearly as memorable without Ms. Carter's sharply-etched characterization and delivery. "In the end, it doesn't matter what anyone else thinks about you," Julia Sugarbaker advised her sister near the end of one Emmy-nominated episode. "In the end, all that really matter is what was true, and truly felt." What's "true" is that Ms. Carter brought us hours of viewing pleasure, and left us with decades of memories and quotes. And for that, we want to thank you (Ray Don)...


Posted on Friday, January 29, 2010
in the castle of the King of the Belgians
This is usually our “quiet” time of year – that brief hiatus between our fall and spring releases. But late in 2009, two shows opened that we knew we wanted in our catalogue, so we’ve been spending our winter months readying cast albums of two classic musicals: FINIAN’S RAINBOW, which we’ve written up a few times here, and the new Broadway production of A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC, starring Catherine Zeta-Jones, Angela Lansbury and Alexander Hanson. For those unfamiliar with Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler’s “heady, civilized, sophisticated and enchanting” (The New York Times) “perfect romantic comedy musical” (The New Yorker), it’s one of the true glories of the American stage, and its felicities are everywhere apparent in this new production. A co-production with our colleagues at Nonesuch Records, we’re looking to a late winter release.


Posted on Monday, January 24, 2010
Woody's comin'
We were saddened – like so many theatre fans – by the closing of FINIAN’S RAINBOW last weekend, but we’re delighted that this glorious production will live on (aurally, at least) in our New Broadway Cast Recording, due in stores February 2nd. Our offices are currently closed for two weeks (as they’d put it in Glocca Morra, we’re “on holiday”), so we won’t be doing our usual early websales for FINIAN’S. Best way to get it : via Amazon, who typically begin shipping the Friday before street date. Or, if you’re in the New York area on February 1st, one day prior to release, the principal cast of FINIAN’S RAINBOW will be performing and signing CD’s at the Barnes & Noble at Lincoln Center at 5 PM – so you can be the first in your neighborhood to get a FINIAN’S album, and get it signed.


Posted on December 6, 2009
so sugar candish, so ginger beer
The classic American musical FINIAN’S RAINBOW returned to Broadway on October 29, 2009, to rave reviews. The New York Times predicted “permanent sunshine” for this “thoroughly winning and joyous” production; Variety hailed it as an “infectious charmer, with one of Broadway’s consistently melodious scores”; while the critic for The Wall Street Journal stated simply, “I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more musically satisfying show.” Featuring some of the wittiest, most heartfelt and memorable songs ever written for the stage (including “How Are Things in Glocca Morra?” “Old Devil Moon,” and “Look to the Rainbow”), Burton Lane and Yip Harburg’s score – rendered here by a cast of 30 and a full orchestra -- remains one of Broadway’s finest. The acclaimed cast includes Broadway stars Jim Norton, Cheyenne Jackson and Christopher Fitzgerald, plus our own Kate Baldwin in a star-making turn. Tomorrow we’ll have the honor and pleasure of preserving this musical theatre treasure on disc, and come February 2nd, PS Classics’ New Broadway Cast Recording will hit stores and “carry you away on a cloud of melody, magic and make-you-swoon performances” (New York Daily News).


Posted on October 24, 2009
all about Steve
As we noted back in a column in the fall of 2007 (“solid performers”), there are some albums that – through a combination of great reviews and terrific word-of-mouth – just keep selling month after month, defying all sales trends. Steve Pasquale’s SOMETHIN’ LIKE LOVE streeted in mid-April, and now, six months later, customers continue to find it, and critics continue to rave. Cabaret Scenes praised it as “one of the best discoveries to come around in a long time,” while Next Magazine tagged it “an instant winner ... a treasure trove of American Songbook standards that Pasquale croons with style, substance and sex appeal.” The Connecticut Post found it “a beautiful collection” that “went into immediate heavy-rotation with Frank and Ella and feels right at home there,” while The New York Times hailed Steve as “a polished jazz crooner in the Chet Baker mold." At Sirius Radio, Jonathan Schwartz voted it “the CD of the year.” Join Steve as he takes on a dozen romantic jazz-tinged tunes. The songs are already classics; the album promises to become one as well.


Posted on October 15, 2009
kiss me once, then kiss me twice
The first review of our new cast album of KITTY’S KISSES came out on Tuesday, in a column by Midwest Records’ Chris Spector, and it showered praise not only on the finished product, but on the impulse behind the CD (as well as the style and sound). We thought we’d reprint it here:

“Oops, I’m getting old. I remember when record companies made records because some records just had to be made. Such is the case with PS Classics’ forgotten musicals series and their newest entry: a studio revival of a 1926 summer musical that was a hit in its time but is now completely forgotten. Rounding up a studio cast of label stalwarts, producer Tommy Krasker clearly grew up on the records of Goddard Lieberson. Sounding every bit like a classic 1950s Columbia Records soundtrack (with today’s technology behind it), this set merits the Midwest Record highly-coveted jaw-dropping 4 ‘goddamn’s. If you aren’t a Broadway fan and can’t wrap your head around an hour of whimsy and top-shelf vocal performances, such is your loss. Someone put TARP money to good use and give this record company a blank check to make more records that need to be made. Everyone involved should take a deep bow.”

One quick clarification: the marvelous artists involved aren’t exactly “label stalwarts” (although we do work with them every chance we get!), but they are most assuredly some of the best performers in the business: Kate Baldwin, Andréa Burns, Danny Burstein, Victoria Clark, Christopher Fitzgerald, Malcolm Gets, Rebecca Luker, Sally Wilfert and Jim Stanek, among others. If you haven’t had the chance yet to pick up KITTY’S KISSES and luxuriate in a bit of Twenties foolishness and fun, you can do so by clicking here.


Posted on October 14, 2009
I fancy the face(book) I face
We’ve taken the plunge and created a PS Classics Facebook page. So if you’re interested in joining, hearing where artists are performing in your area, and finding out about new releases first, you can become a fan by clicking here.


Posted on August 26, 2009
four men and a funeral
It’s probably not “news” at this point that THE STORY OF MY LIFE, starring Will Chase and Malcolm Gets, didn’t sustain a lengthy Broadway run. In a column further down this page, though, we note that the announcement of our planned recording elicited more grateful E-mails than any show in recent memory. Equally gratifying: since the album release, reviews have been coming in regularly, and they’ve been glowing. At USA Today, Elysa Gardner singled out “People Carry On” as one of her “tracks of the week,” and hailed the show as “this year's most underappreciated Broadway musical, an unabashed, irresistible tearjerker.” (At Film Score Monthly, Cary Wong also lamented that the show proved “one of the sadder casualties of the season.”) Theatermania’s Andy Propst also applauded “People Carry On” (“a heartfelt musical meditation on grief”) and found STORYa chamber musical worth revisiting.” At Talkin’ Broadway, Rob Lester called it a “small show” that makes “a big impact”; he praised the show’s “integrity and beauty,” the lyrics (“literate and full of detail”) and music (“appropriately intense and always rich in emotion”), although his favorite track was the “touching and beautifully written ‘Mrs. Remington,’ one of the strongest and most touching theatre story-songs of recent years.” All the way down-under, Jim Murphy in the Melbourne Age found all the songs “quite exceptional in their felicity.”

Meanwhile, maybe not since our simultaneous releases of MY LIFE WITH ALBERTINE and ZANNA, DON’T! have we been working at the same time on two more startlingly different musicals than THE STORY OF MY LIFE and our upcoming November release, GUTENBERG! THE MUSICAL!, which we recorded back in April. A two-man musical starring Christopher Fitzgerald and Jeremy Shamos, GUTENBERG played off-Broadway in 2007. The New York Times called it “a smashing success,” the Associated Press hailed it as “hysterically funny,” and, well, it only took us two years to assemble cast and authors in the recording studio. A spoof of passionate musical theatre writers, GUTENBERG! THE MUSICAL! casts Christopher and Jeremy as two desperate and bravely untalented songwriters performing a backers' audition for their new musical about the inventor of the printing press. With an unending supply of enthusiasm, the two authors sing all the songs and play all the parts in their crass historical epic. GUTENBERG! THE MUSICAL! was nominated for the 2007 Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Musical and the 2007 Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding New Off-Broadway Musical, and its authors were nominated for the 2007 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Book of a Musical. Now, at long last, we’ve preserved it on this Original Off-Broadway Cast Recording, due in stores November 3rd.


Posted on August 23, 2009
Kitty's Kisses
One of our goals, when we formed PS Classics, was to restore and record a vintage musical every few years. But the costs are so high, and the customer base so small (passionate, but small), that that schedule quickly proved impossible. But we keep trying! Our last vintage restoration was FINE AND DANDY, back in 2004. This fall we’ll be unveiling a real rarity: the world premiere recording of the 1926 “bright new summer musical delight” KITTY’S KISSES. We wanted to do something quintessentially Twenties, and something obscure – because of course, there are dozens upon dozens of wonderful shows from that era that are totally forgotten. KITTY’S KISSES features music by Con Conrad, who took home the first Academy Award for Best Song (“The Continental” in 1934), and lyrics by Gus Kahn, whose standards include “It Had to Be You,” “I'll See You in My Dreams,” and “Makin' Whoopee!” The book was co-authored by the great Otto Harbach (Roberta, Desert Song, and No, No, Nanette!). How did we happen upon KITTY’S KISSES? Well, you’ll have to buy the CD when it hits stores on October 20th (earlier at PS, naturally) and check out the liner notes for the answer. But it’s a heady bouquet of sweet ballads and rollicking rhythm tunes, and very Twenties! Sam Davis is conducting, and an amazing cast has signed on to join us, including (so far) Kate Baldwin, Andrea Burns, Danny Burstein, Victoria Clark, Christopher Fitzgerald and Rebecca Luker.


Posted on August 14, 2009
Greenwich Time
Our last solo album with the wonderful Rebecca Luker was back in 2004, with LEAVING HOME, although she’s since offered indelible performances on such albums as JULE STYNE IN HOLLYWOOD and DEAR EDWINA. Now, in her first solo disc in five years, Rebecca gives voice to the work of bold new songwriters while honoring a generation of musical theatre giants – including Jule Styne, John Kander and Maury Yeston – with some of their most deeply personal dramatic ballads. GREENWICH TIME celebrates the anticipation, joy, and wonderment of love, and Rebecca’s shimmering, soaring soprano embraces every note. Coming to PS Classics October 20th.


Posted on June 19, 2009
Lizzie's Comin' Home
Liz Callaway and her music director Alex Rybeck were in our offices this past Monday, finalizing the repertoire for her upcoming solo disc, which we’ll be releasing this October. Liz and Tommy “grew up” in the business together – Liz was making her Broadway debut in Merrily We Roll Along around the time Tommy got his first New York job as rehearsal pianist on Nine: The Musical – but they never worked together until Liz joined us on The Maury Yeston Songbook. And they both enjoyed the experience so much that they decided to collaborate again, this time on a solo disc for Liz. When we began work on the album last fall, we leaked to the press that the album would include “a mix of classic theatre songs, pop songs, and some newer material” – i.e., we didn’t want to give too much away. (It's Liz’s first solo disc in eight years, after all, and the anticipation’s part of the fun.) But suffice to say that the repertoire is both varied and (as one would expect from Liz) carefully chosen, that the tracks we’ve recorded to date are knockouts, and that we think Liz’s fans – and beyond that, music fans, period – will be ecstatic. It’s Liz at her very best – and perhaps we don’t need to say any more than that!


celebrating the heritage of broadway and american popular song
featured albums
New Broadway Cast Recording
Kelsey Grammer & Douglas Hodge
Death Takes a Holiday
Death Takes a Holiday

Original Off-Broadway Cast
Sondheim on Sondheim
Sondheim on Sondheim
Original Brodway Cast Recording
Finian's Rainbow
Finian's Rainbow
New Broadway Cast Recording

A Little Night Music
A Little Night Music
New Broadway Cast Recording
The Story of My Life
The Story of My Life
Original Broadway Cast Recording

    Kitty's Kisses
Kitty's Kisses
World Premiere Recording
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